Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty of Rape, Acquitted on Most Serious Charges
Movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, was found guilty of sexual assault and rape in the third-degree on Monday, but acquitted on the two most serious charges of predatory sexual assault. Each individual charge of predatory sexual assault carried the potential for a sentence of up to life in prison. Following convictions on the lesser charges, Weinstein faces a sentence of between five and 25 years for first-degree criminal sexual assault, and up to four years for the third-degree rape charge.
The verdict comes following more than a month of trial proceedings, including 17 days of often grueling and graphic witness testimony from a Manhattan state courtroom. The jury, comprised of seven men and five women, deliberated for nearly 27 hours over five days before announcing their decision.
Although Weinstein managed to evade the most serious charges, prosecutors were quick to declare the verdict as a victory via public statements made during a post-trial news conference.
“These are the eight women who changed the course of history in the fight against sexual violence,” Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, asserted after the decision was read. The eight women Vance referred to include the six women witnesses who testified against Weinstein, as well as the two women prosecutors leading the case, Joan Iluzzi and Meghan Hast. “These are eight women who pulled the criminal justice system into the 21st century by declaring that rape is rape and sexual assault is sexual assault no matter what.”
“It’s rape despite the complicated dynamics of power and consent after an assault. It’s rape even if there’s no physical evidence even if it happened a long time ago,” Vance added. “This is the new landscape for sexual assault survivors in America and this is a new day.”
Weinstein did not testify at the trial. Throughout the myriad charges and allegations against him since the #MeToo movement began to take shape in October 2017, he has stridently maintained his innocence, insisting that any sexual relationships were consensual.
Weinstein was free on bond throughout the trial proceedings, but was handcuffed immediately following the verdict and ordered held without bail pending his scheduled March 11 sentencing before Judge James Burke. Weinstein’s legal team declared that they intend to appeal the verdict immediately.
Additionally, Weinstein currently faces criminal charges in a sex crimes case in Los Angeles involving two separate incidents. He is charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another over the course of two consecutive days in 2013. A plea has yet to be entered in that case.
Weinstein will need to be transported between New York and Los Angeles once that trial begins, as California law stipulates the state may only prosecute a defendant if that person physically appears in the courtroom.