Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was found guilty on Monday of raping and sexually assaulting one of four women he was accused of assaulting in Los Angeles – a significant conviction in the second trial of a man at the center of allegations that have fueled the global #MeToo movement.
Weinstein, who prosecutors say used his Hollywood influence to lure women into private meetings and assault them, was found guilty on three of the seven charges against him.
After weeks of moving testimony and 10 days of deliberation, jurors in Los Angeles also acquitted Weinstein of one count of forcible sexual assault of a massage therapist in a hotel room in 2010. They were a jury suspended on one count of forcible sexual assault. , a count of forced oral copulation and a count of rape linked to two other women – including Jennifer Siebel Newsom, filmmaker and first partner of California Governor Gavin Newsom.
The three counts on which Weinstein was convicted – rape, sexual penetration by a foreign object and forced oral copulation – were all linked to one of his accusers, a model and actress who testified that the movie mogul assaulted her in a hotel room in Beverly Hills in February 2013.
The woman, identified as Jane Doe 1 in court, was the first to testify at trial.
“Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night in 2013. I’ll never get it back. The criminal trial was brutal. Weinstein’s lawyers put me through hell on the witness stand. But I knew I had to see this through, and I did…I hope Harvey Weinstein never sees the outside of a jail cell in his lifetime,” Jane Doe 1 in a statement released by his lawyer.
Weinstein had pleaded not guilty to all seven counts against him.
“Harvey is obviously disappointed, but hopefully, because with this particular accuser, there are good grounds to appeal based on the time and place of the alleged events,” Weinstein spokesman Judah said. Engelmayer, in a statement. “He is grateful that the jury took the time to deliberate on the other counts and he is prepared to continue to fight for his innocence.”
Weinstein faces a 24-year prison sentence for the Los Angeles conviction, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. The once powerful movie producer is already serving a 23-year sentence for a 2020 New York City rape conviction.
Jurors will return to court on Tuesday to consider aggravating factors to help determine the outcome of Weinstein’s sentencing hearing, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The district attorney’s office will meet to determine whether to retry counts on which the jury could not agree, officials said.
Elizabeth Fegan, an attorney representing Siebel Newsom, who was identified in court as Jane Doe 4, said she was disappointed the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on the charges related to her client.
“Harvey Weinstein will never be able to rape another woman. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars for her. Harvey Weinstein is a serial predator and what he did was rape,” Siebel Newsom said in a statement. communicated. “Throughout the trial, Weinstein’s attorneys used sexism, misogyny, and bullying tactics to intimidate, belittle, and ridicule us, the survivors. This trial was a stark reminder that we, as society, we have work to do. To all the survivors out there – I see you, I hear you and I am with you.
Governor Newsom also released a statement saying, “I am incredibly proud of my wife and all the brave women who have come forward to share their truth and lift up countless survivors who cannot. Their strength, their courage and their conviction are a powerful example and a source of inspiration for all of us. We must continue to fight to ensure survivors are supported and their voices are heard.
The Los Angeles jury reached its verdict after deliberating for a total of 41 hours – longer than the New York jury in Weinstein’s first criminal trial, in which he was found guilty of criminal sex act and rape in the third degree after 26 hours of deliberation. His attorneys appealed that conviction, putting more emphasis on the outcome of the trial in Los Angeles.
Jane Doe 2, identified as Lauren Young, told her lawyer Gloria Allred over the phone that she was happy Weinstein had been convicted on some counts despite the mistrial, Allred told a conference press after the verdict.
“I am relieved that Harvey Weinstein has been convicted because he deserves to be punished for the crimes he committed, and he can no longer use his power to intimidate and sexually assault more women,” Young said. in a statement read by Allred.
The week-long trial saw emotional testimony from Weinstein’s accusers – a model, a dancer, a massage therapist and Siebel Newsom – who were all asked to recount details of their allegations against him, provide details of meetings with the producer from years ago, and explain their reactions to the alleged assaults.
Weinstein initially faced 11 charges, but four charges related to an unnamed woman were dropped without explanation. She did not testify at trial.
In her closing arguments, Assistant Los Angeles County District Attorney Marlene Martinez called Weinstein a “titan” who used his power in Hollywood to prey on women and silence them.
“The rapists rape. You can look at the model,” fellow prosecutor Paul Thompson told jurors.
Meanwhile, Weinstein’s lawyers have argued the allegations were fabricated or occurred consensually in a “transactional relationship” with the film producer, repeatedly claiming there was no no evidence of assault.
Defense attorney Alan Jackson called the accusers “seekers of fame and fortune”.
The trial in Los Angeles also included testimony from other witnesses, including experts, law enforcement, friends of accusers and former Weinstein aides.
Additionally, four women testified that they were subjected to similar behavior by Weinstein in other jurisdictions.
Every morning at trial, Weinstein was wheeled from a correctional facility and into the Los Angeles courtroom wearing a suit and tie and holding a composition notebook.
His accusers all began their often moving testimonies by identifying him in the courtroom as he looked on.
“He’s wearing a suit and a blue tie and he’s looking at me,” Siebel Newsom said last month, ahead of what was one of the trial’s most emotional moments. She testified that Weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 2005.
During the trial, defense attorney Jackson asked jurors if they could ‘take what (the Jane Do) said as gospel’, arguing that what they said was a lack of forensic evidence. in support of their assertion.
“Five words that sum up the entire prosecution case: ‘Trust me at my word,'” Jackson said. “’Take my word that he showed up in my hotel room unannounced. Take my word for it, I showed up at his hotel room. Take my word for it, I didn’t consent. Take my word for it, I said no. ”
Siebel Newsom described an hour-long ‘cat and mouse period’ leading up to his alleged assault. She, like other accusers, described feeling “frozen” that day.
Weinstein’s attorneys don’t deny the incident, but said he believes it was consensual.
Jackson called the incident “consensual and transactional sex,” adding, “Regret is not the same as rape. And it’s important that we make that distinction in this courtroom.
In her closing arguments, Martinez pointed out that the women who testified chose to do so despite knowing they would face difficult conditions in court.
“The truth is, while you’re sitting here, we know the despicable behavior of the defendant. He thought he was so powerful that people…would excuse his behavior,” Martinez said. “It’s just that Harvey is Harvey. It’s just Hollywood. And for so long, that’s what everyone did. Everyone just turned their heads.
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