Harvey Weinstein found guilty of criminal sex act and third-degree rape

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of criminal sex act and third-degree rape

Weinstein
In a watershed #MeToo moment, Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of criminal sex act and third-degree rape on Monday at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse in New York.

The jury of five women and seven men found the 67-year old guilty of criminal sexual assault in the first degree for assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006 and third-degree rape of actress Jessica Mann in 2013.

After the verdict was read, Judge James M. Burke, who weeks ago called the Hollywood disgraced mogul “noncompliant and defiant”, announced that Weinstein would be transported immediately to Rikers Island Jail to await his sentencing.

“But I’m innocent, I’m innocent. How can this happen in America?” Weinstein said as he was handcuffed and led out of court by two court officers.

Weinstein will appear in court again on March 11, where he will be sentenced.

Miriam Haley, who worked as a production assistant on the U.S reality television show Project Runway, claimed that one night in 2006, Weinstein had pushed her onto a bed and forcibly performed oral sex on her. Weinstein now faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of 25 years in prison.

The charge of rape in the third degree, brought against Weinstein by actress Jessica Mann, has no minimum prison time and a maximum of four years. In 2013, Weinstein raped her in a Midtown Manhattan hotel. 

The jury acquitted Weinstein of three other counts, including the most serious charge of predatory sexual assault, which would have seen him spend the rest of his life behind bars. 

The failed charge of predatory sexual assault was brought, in part by “The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra. The 59-year old told the court one night in 1993, Weinstein forced himself into her apartment and raped her.

The acquittal of this charge suggests the jury had doubts about Sciorra’s allegation, or doubts about the accounts of the alleged assaults given by three other women. The jury was not convinced a pattern of behaviour had been established by the prosecution, and did not find him guilty of the charge.

On Twitter, #IBelieveAnnabellaSciorra has been trending, with celebrities including Ashley Judd, Alyssa Milano and Amber Tamblyn getting behind it.

Before leaving court, Justice M. Burke thanked the jury for their “care and concentration.” He also denied Weinstein’s request to be sent home for medical reasons.

In the last hour, footage has been released of the convicted sex criminal exiting New York Police Department’s 1st Precinct without the walker he’d been clinging to over the last months.

Women share their reactions

Tina Tchen, president and CEO of the TIME’S UP Foundation released a statement, saying the verdict “marks a new era of justice.”

“The jury’s verdict sends a powerful message to the world of just how much progress has been made since the Weinstein Silence Breakers ignited an unstoppable movement. Abusers everywhere and the powerful forces that protect them should be on notice: There’s no going back.”

Tarana Burke, founder of #MeToo, also released a statement, claiming that the conviction would not have been possible “without the voices of the silence breakers in and outside of the courtroom, the survivors who courageously testified, and the jurors who, despite an unrelenting and unethical defence strategy, voted to find an un-remorseful Harvey Weinstein guilty.”

Other prominent #MeToo advocates including Rose McGowan, Alyssa Milano and Ashley Judd have taken to social to voice their statements.

Judd also spoke to Jodi Kantor from The New York Times, saying “This is what he has created for himself, prison, lack of remorse, lack of accountability.”

Kantor, along with colleague Megan Twohey broke the story in 2017 and later penned an explosive exposé in the book She Said’.

Rose McGowan, one of Time Magazine’s Silence Breakers in 2017, and who accused Weinstein of raping her in a hotel room when she was a young actor, said of the verdict, “I can finally exhale.”

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