• Harvey Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison
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    Harvey Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison

    Harvey Weinstein was sentenced on Wednesday to 23 years in prison following his conviction last month for third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act.Justice James Burke, who presided over the weeks-long criminal trial of the Oscar-winning producer and entertainment executive, handed down the sentence in a Manhattan courtroom.Just before the sentence was announced, Weinstein addressed his accusers — many of whom were in the courtroom. “We may have different truths, but I have great remorse for all of you,” he said. “I feel remorse for the situation. I feel it deeply in my heart.”Also Read: Hollywood Reacts to Weinstein Sentence: 'No Amount of Jail Time Will Repair the Lives He Ruined'In a gravelly, almost inaudible voice, he also reflected on the trajectory of American culture in the two years since he was first accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women. He said he was the first example of “thousands of men” who have now been accused in the MeToo movement. “I’m worried about this country,” he said, saying he thinks there is a lack of “due process.”Weinstein lead attorney Donna Rotunno called the sentence “obscene” and “ridiculous.” “Of course it’s too harsh,” she said during a press conference.Weinstein, who is expected to appeal the verdict, also faces a separate criminal trial in Los Angeles on charges that he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013. The L.A. District Attorney’s office announced after Weinstein’s New York sentencing that they have begun the process of extraditing defendant Weinstein to California to face the sexual assault charges that were filed in January. No dates have been set yet.Also Read: LA District Attorney Begins Harvey Weinstein's Extradition Process for 2nd TrialThe jury found Weinstein guilty of third-degree rape of Jessica Mann and a criminal sexual act of Miriam Haley (née Mimi Haleyi). However, the panel found him not guilty of two of the most serious charges — predatory sexual assault against Haley, Mann and “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra — and the first-degree rape of Mann.Sciorra and Tarale Wulff, who testified in the trial, were among those present to support the women. Haley and Mann also read victims’ impact statements at the sentencing Wednesday.Haley started to cry discussing the “healing” nature of speaking up, then moved on to describe the paranoia she felt in the aftermath of the assault.Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Called Himself 'Suicidal' and a 'Sex Addict' After 2017 Exposés, Unsealed Documents Show“I can only hope that whatever sentence the court sees fit is long enough for Harvey Weinstein to acknowledge what he has done to me and to others and to be truly sorry,” she said. Mann, too, requested “the accountability of a maximum sentence.”The disgraced Hollywood mogul was taken back into custody. After the verdict on Feb. 24, he spent about 10 days on the forensic ward of New York’s Bellevue Hospital, where he underwent a heart procedure, before he was moved on March 5 to the North Infirmary Command, the medical facility at Rikers Island.Read original story Harvey Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison At TheWrap

  • Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty of Rape, Criminal Sexual Act
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    Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty of Rape, Criminal Sexual Act

    A New York jury on Monday found Harvey Weinstein guilty of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act, ending a months-long criminal trial in Manhattan that focused on the testimonies of six women who accused him of sexual assault.The disgraced Hollywood mogul was immediately taken into custody and could face up to 29 years in prison for the crimes when he is sentenced on March 11. An appeal is expected.The jury found Weinstein guilty of third-degree rape of Jessica Mann and a criminal sexual act of Miriam Haley (née Mimi Haleyi). However, the panel found him not guilty of two of the most serious charges — predatory sexual assault against Haley, Mann and “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra — and the first-degree rape of Mann.Also Read: 6 Harvey Weinstein Accusers Have Testified at His Trial - Here's What They SaidDonna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lead attorney, said she was “disappointed” by the verdict and vowed to appeal. “We knew we came in and we were down 35-0 on the day that we started this trial,” she said. “Harvey is unbelievably strong. He took it like a man. He knows that we will continue to fight for him and knows that this is not over.”“I hope women will understand the significance of the jury verdict today,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said outside the courtroom, praising Weinstein’s accusers for coming forward. “These survivors weren’t just brave, they were heroic. Weinstein did everything he could … to silence the survivors. They refused to be silenced. The spoke from their hearts and were heard. To them I would say: You broke silence to hold him accountable. A generation of sexual assault survivors have heard every word.”Haley, a former production assistant for the Weinstein-produced TV show “Project Runway,” testified that Weinstein had orally sexually assaulted her at his SoHo apartment in 2006 — an account that formed the basis of the first-degree criminal sexual act charge and half of the first predatory sexual assault charge.Mann, a former aspiring actress and hairdresser, said she had been raped by Weinstein at the DoubleTree hotel in Manhattan in 2013, making up the fourth and fifth charges — first- and third-degree rape — as well as half of the second predatory sexual assault charge.To fulfill the requirements of the predatory sexual assault charge, which requires that the prosecution prove the defendant forcibly raped at least two people, Sciorra’s account was paired with Haley’s and Mann’s for the two separate predatory sexual assault charges. Sciorra testified that Weinstein barged into her Gramercy Park home around 1993, raped her and then orally sexually assaulted her.Also Read: Inside the Harvey Weinstein Jury's Tricky Task and Why They Can't Find Him Guilty on All 5 CountsThroughout the trial, Weinstein’s defense — led by attorneys Donna Rotunno, Damon Cheronis, and Arthur Aidala — argued that these encounters were all consensual and that the women were only relabeling the incidents as assault years after the fact. Weinstein’s attorneys also pointed to several friendly emails that Haley and Mann had sent to Weinstein after the alleged assaults to attack the credibility of the women.But the prosecution, led by assistant district attorneys Joan Illuzzi and Meghan Hast, portrayed Weinstein as a Hollywood titan who used his power to take advantage of and manipulate young women seeking entry into the entertainment industry.It is not immediately clear how the verdict will impact the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, which is pursuing its own case against Weinstein. The mogul faces L.A.-based charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint. A representative for the L.A. D.A.’s office declined to comment.Read original story Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty of Rape, Criminal Sexual Act At TheWrap

  • In Closing Argument, Weinstein’s Attorney Says Prosecution’s Case ‘Strips Women of Common Sense, Autonomy’
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    In Closing Argument, Weinstein’s Attorney Says Prosecution’s Case ‘Strips Women of Common Sense, Autonomy’

    Harvey Weinstein’s defense team laid out a sweeping closing argument on Thursday of their side of the case for one last time before the jury begins deliberations.Dressed in all black, Donna Rotunno — one of Weinstein’s lead attorneys — stood before the seven men, five women jury and urged them to use their “New York City common sense” as a “beacon of light” that would help them make an “unpopular” decision: finding Weinstein not guilty on all counts.“You don’t have to like Mr. Weinstein. This is not a popularity contest,” Rotunno said. “If you look at the evidence and say, ‘Maybe he’s guilty, probably he’s guilty,’ that’s not enough. … Stand your ground.”Also Read: Harvey Weinstein's Defense Wanted His Surgeon to Testify to Prove He's Not 'Faking It' With His WalkerRotunno then attacked the prosecution’s opening statement, which painted a picture of Weinstein as a predator who had a similar M.O. when choosing and assaulting his victims.“The government has to weave a story because, without the story, they know that if you had to look at the evidence alone, from their perspective, they lose. … The irony is that the ADAs [assistant district attorneys] in the case are the producer, and they are writing the script. In their story, they’ve created a universe that strips women of common sense, autonomy,” Rotunno said. “In their universe, women are not responsible for the parties they attend, the men they flirt with, the choices they make to further their own careers, the hotel invitations, the plane tickets they accept.”She then honed in on the two women whose accusations form the basis of the charges: Miriam Haley (née Mimi Haleyi) and Jessica Mann.Haley, whose account informs one first-degree criminal sexual act charge and one predatory sexual assault charge, testified that in 2013, after finishing up a stint as a production assistant, she was invited to meet with Weinstein at his SoHo apartment. It was there that she alleged he backed her into a bedroom, pulled her tampon out, and performed oral sex on her despite her protestations.Rotunno displayed a timeline of Haley’s interactions with Weinstein before the jury to highlight how she met up with him again and had a non-forcible, consensual sexual encounter; reached out to Weinstein for tickets to movie premieres; and requested a meeting with him to pitch a TV show.Rotunno then attacked Haley’s credibility and character by describing her as a “flirtatious person” who was aware of Weinstein’s intentions and referred back to a statement Haley made during her testimony about being concerned Weinstein “didn’t like [her] as much” after she rejected his offer to go to Paris with him.Also Read: Weinstein Lawyer Donna Rotunno Sparks Outrage by Saying She's Never Put Herself in a 'Position' to Be Assaulted“Why would she care? Why would she care if she thought he liked her less?” Rotunno said. “She cared because they had more of a relationship than she wants you to believe. She cared because they had a flirtatious relationship. She cared because she was using him for jobs. But she can’t tell you that because then the rest of her actions don’t make sense.”Rotunno’s comments about Mann will be delivered after court reconvenes from a short break.The prosecution will be the last to makes its closing argument, with Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi giving her summation before the jury on Friday morning.Jury selection begins next Tuesday, following the Presidents Day holiday. Weinstein faces five felony counts — two charges for predatory sexual assault, and one charge each for a first-degree criminal sexual act and first- and third-degree rape. He has pleaded not guilty and denied accusations of nonconsensual sex.Read original story In Closing Argument, Weinstein’s Attorney Says Prosecution’s Case ‘Strips Women of Common Sense, Autonomy’ At TheWrap

  • Harvey Weinstein Accuser Called Him Her ‘Spiritual Soulmate,’ Former Roommate Testifies
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    Harvey Weinstein Accuser Called Him Her ‘Spiritual Soulmate,’ Former Roommate Testifies

    Talita Maia, a former roommate and friend of Jessica Mann — one of the main accusers in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial — said that Mann often spoke fondly of Weinstein and could not recall her being upset after incidents in which Mann has alleged Weinstein sexually assaulted her.Mann, who testified over the course of three days earlier this month, said that Maia — also an aspiring actress at the time — was often around her during her early interactions with Weinstein. During an encounter with Weinstein in a Los Angeles hotel, Mann said that she and Maia were asked by Weinstein to go up to his room to receive scripts for a movie he thought they would be good for the lead roles. It was there that Mann alleges Weinstein told Maia to wait out in the hotel suite’s living area, pulled Mann into a bedroom, and performed oral sex on her without her consent.Maia, who was testifying for the defense on Monday morning, said it was an “awkward” situation to be asked to go up to Weinstein’s hotel room and said Mann did not seem upset afterward as they were leaving.Also Read: Aspiring Actress Testifies 'Deformed'-Looking Harvey Weinstein Raped Her After Using Penile InjectionIn New York at the DoubleTree hotel, Mann testified that she, Maia and an agent friend of Mann’s were supposed to meet with Weinstein for a breakfast in March of 2013. Mann testified that Weinstein arrived early to the hotel and checked in, causing the two to have an argument that eventually led to Weinstein violently raping her.When asked about seeing Mann after the alleged incident, Maia said she also didn’t think Mann seemed upset when she came down for the breakfast.Weinstein’s attorney Donna Rotunno also asked Maia if Mann had ever said anything about Weinstein hurting her in any way.“No,” Maia responded.During the prosecution’s cross-examination, Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi asked Maia about her eventual falling out with Mann.“Jessica did things in my life that impacted my life in a very negative way, in a terrible way, [but] I don’t hate her or anything like that,” Maia said.Later, Illuzzi asked Maia how Mann often spoke of Weinstein.“She said a few times that he was like her spiritual soulmate,” Maia responded.Read original story Harvey Weinstein Accuser Called Him Her ‘Spiritual Soulmate,’ Former Roommate Testifies At TheWrap

  • In Opening Statements, Attorneys Tell a Tale of Two Harvey Weinsteins
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    In Opening Statements, Attorneys Tell a Tale of Two Harvey Weinsteins

    More than a year after the New York district attorney’s office arrested and charged Harvey Weinstein for sex crimes, lawyers for the defense and prosecution appeared in court on Wednesday to paint their own picture of Harvey Weinstein.Wednesday’s proceedings marked the beginning of what has been — and will likely continue to be — a contentious trial lasting several months. After the jury of 12 people and three alternates was sworn in, the prosecution launched into detailed retellings of how Annabella Sciorra, Mimi Haleyi, Jessica Mann, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff, and Lauren Young — the six women expected to testify in the trial — say Weinstein assaulted them. While the prosecution’s charges hinge on the accounts of Haleyi and Mann (who was previously unnamed before Wednesday’s proceedings) the testimonies from the other four women could help the state make the case that Weinstein was a predator.“During this trial, you are going to learn that the defendant is a savvy New York City businessman, that he was a famous and powerful Hollywood producer, living a lavish lifestyle that most of us will never know and will come to learn, most of us will not want to know,” Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast said. “But the evidence both from the witness stand and from exhibits admitted during the trial will also show that that man was a sexual predator and a rapist.”Also Read: Actress Jessica Mann Named as Second Witness in Harvey Weinstein TrialAs Hast began sharing graphic details of the alleged assaults, she projected photographs onto a large TV screen in the courtroom of Weinstein in his heyday, standing before hundreds of reporters on a red carpet and posing with former President Bill Clinton, contrasted with photos of the women who will be testifying in the coming weeks. Included in Hast’s retellings were details about violent behavior and a pervasive sense of fear that the women felt.“Ladies and gentlemen, ultimately this trial is about the defendant’s desire for conquest. And it is for his complete lack of empathy that he must be held accountable,” Hast said near the end of her opening.But roughly two hours later, when Weinstein’s attorney Damon Cheronis stood to give his side’s opening, Cheronis quickly criticized the prosecution for calling his client a “predator” and “rapist.”“What we just heard from Ms. Hast was truly a narrative that was spun to explain things that are inexplicable,” he said. “Everything that Ms. Hast just told you is not evidence. None of it. She wasn’t there, she doesn’t know. She’s relying on what [the women] told her.”Also Read: Lance Maerov, Former Weinstein Co. Board Member, Called as First Witness in Harvey Weinstein TrialCheronis then began to retell the accounts of the women from a different angle, one which depicted Weinstein as a man having consensual relationships with his accusers and not a “master manipulator.”To do so, Cheronis also used a PowerPoint and quoted from seemingly friendly emails sent by some of the witnesses against Weinstein, suggesting that the messages indicated the encounters did not amount to sexual assault. He also brought up the timelines of each woman’s account and questioned the sequence of events that occurred after the alleged assaults, including instances where the witnesses reached out to Weinstein for further contact.“At some point during the course of this trial,” Cheronis said to the jury, “you’re going to say, ‘Oh my God, Harvey Weinstein is innocent.'”A black-suited Weinstein entered the packed courtroom around 9:17 a.m. ET without the aid of a walker. He was propped up by his publicist and headed straight for the defense’s table in the front of the courtroom. Observing his movements were over 70 members of the press and rows of attorneys, including Gloria Allred and Douglas Wigdor, who are representing some of the witnesses in the case, and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.Also Read: Actress and Activist Jessica Barth Urges 'Kindness in the Press' for Harvey Weinstein Trial WitnessesBut when the jury entered, the filled courtroom quieted down, marking the start of a day of proceedings that would be a confluence of spectacle and solemnity.Weinstein faces five felony counts for predatory sexual assault and first- and third-degree rape; if found guilty of the former charge, he faces a life sentence. He has pleaded not guilty.Read original story In Opening Statements, Attorneys Tell a Tale of Two Harvey Weinsteins At TheWrap

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial Judge Rules NYPD Detective Cannot Be Called to Testify
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    Harvey Weinstein Trial Judge Rules NYPD Detective Cannot Be Called to Testify

    The judge overseeing the criminal trial of Harvey Weinstein on Monday ruled that an NYPD detective who was removed from the police investigation cannot be called to testify.While Justice James Burke rejected Weinstein’s defense attorneys’ request to have Detective Nicholas DiGaudio take the stand, he said that other witnesses could testify about the cop.DiGaudio was removed from the NYPD investigation into Weinstein in 2018 after he breached protocol by instructing a witness to delete information from her phone and failing to inform prosecutors of evidence that would have been beneficial to the defense — specifically that she had told a friend she had agreed to perform a sex act on Weinstein after he promised her acting jobs.“This is not to say the defense cannot vigorously crossexamine witnesses about their interactions with the detective,” Burke added.Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Trial Judge Tells Defense to 'Leave the Witnesses Alone' in Public StatementsThe unnamed female witness ultimately did not delete anything from her device, according to a letter from Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzi-Orbon, the lead prosecutor on the case. But DiGaudio’s interactions with Lucia Evans, an actress who accused Weinstein of forcing her to perform oral sex on him, added further scrutiny to his conduct on the investigation.Evans has denied that she consented to the sex act with Weinstein, and DiGaudio denied withholding exculpatory information about the case, but he was ultimately removed from the case and the prosecution dropped one criminal charge based on Evans’ accusations.Weinstein, who has pleaded not guilty, faces five felony counts from predatory sexual assault and rape. If convicted, he could face a life sentence in prison. The trial continues on Tuesday with the prescreening portion of jury selection.Read original story Harvey Weinstein Trial Judge Rules NYPD Detective Cannot Be Called to Testify At TheWrap