However, Weinstein was acquitted on two counts of predatory sexual assault and first degree rape, the most severe charges against him.

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sexual assault and rape
news MeToo Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 07:42

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on Monday was found guilty on several charges against him in a New York court, including sexual assault and third degree rape. However, a jury acquitted Weinstein on two counts of predatory sexual assault and first degree rape — the most stringent charges brought against him, which carried a potential life sentence.

The sexual assault conviction could earn him at least five years to up to 25 years in prison.

Weinstein, 67, was charged with five counts after the jury determined that he had raped actress Jessica Mann in 2013 and forcibly performed oral sex on TV production assistant, Mimi Haleyi in March 2006. He was found not guilty of the charges of predatory sexual assault, which suggests that the jury doubted the accusations from The Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, who accused Weinstein of raping her in the 1990s.  

Sciorra testified that Weinstein showed up unexpectedly at her apartment in New York one night in the early 1990s, raped her, and then forced her to have oral sex with him.
 
When the verdict was read, Weinstein was reportedly still. He told his laywer three times, "but I'm innocent," the New York Times reported. He was later taken to Bellevue Medical Centre as he complained of chest pains and had signs of high blood pressure. 

Read more: Harvey Weinstein on trial: A timeline

A jury of seven men and five women took five days to find him guilty.

Since there was no physical of forensic evidence to support the allegations, the trial was based on the testimonies of the women. 

Weinstein will also face trial in Los Angeles, where criminal charges have been levied against him based on accusations by two women who have alleged sexual assault. 

Weinstein to appeal

The once-powerful movie producer, the allegations against whom effectively launched a new wave of the MeToo movement in the US and around the world, was handcuffed and escorted out of the courtoom to prison. His bail was revoked and he will remain in custody until March 11. 

Weinstein's trial was a high-profile milestone for the #MeToo movement, which inspired women to reveal sexual abuse and harrasment allegations against powerful men. The stories of multiple women were the subject of articles in The New York Times and The New Yorker.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said, "It’s a new day because Weinstein has finally been held accountable." He went on to praise the jurors. "Your verdict turned a page in our criminal justice system."

"To the survivors: I owe and we owe an immense debt of courage to you," Vance said.

Weinstein's defense lawyers are expecting their client to appeal the decision, based on concerns which include the media attention on the case as well as that three other Weinstein accusers were allowed to testify, despite the fact that the charges in the case did not stem from their allegations, according to the Washington Post

"Obviously he's disappointed, but he's strong, he's mentally tough and he's going to continue to fight," lead defence attorney Donna Rotunno said.

With inputs from DW

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