Harvey Weinstein Convicted In Sexual Assault Trial

Harvey Weinstein leaves a Manhattan courthouse during his rape trial, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in New York. (John Minchillo/AP)

Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been convicted by a New York jury in the most prominent case sparked by the #MeToo movement. He was remanded into custody to await sentencing in March.

The jury found Weinstein guilty on two counts; a criminal sex act for assault on Miriam Haley and third-degree rape of Jessica Mann in 2013. The verdict came after the jury told the judge last week they couldn't reach a decision and were ordered to keep deliberating. The two charges carry possible sentences of five and four years, respectively.

Weinstein was found not guilty of the most serious charges — two instances of predatory sexual assault. Those charges, which are based on a series of alleged incidents involving four other women who testified at the trial, would have carried a potential sentence of life in prison.

Weinstein, 67, who was once one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, has been named by scores of women who say he sexually assaulted them over the past 40 years. In the New York trial, the "Shakespeare in Love" producer faced five criminal charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of rape (in the first and third degrees), and one count of criminal sexual assault in the third degree.

Here's a breakdown of the charges:

  • Rape: The trial's most recent alleged assault was a 2013 incident with Jessica Mann. The former actress accused Weinstein of raping her in a Midtown Manhattan hotel. The jury had the option of finding Weinstein guilty of rape in the first or third degree.
  • Criminal sexual assault: Miriam Haley, who is a former production assistant, said Weinstein forced oral sex on her at his home in 2006. Mann and Haley both maintained contact and had sex with Weinstein after the alleged assaults, complicating the prosecution's case.
  • Predatory sexual assault: These two separate charges are tied to "prior bad acts" and involved the testimony of four other witnesses. Two of those four witnesses, "Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra and model Lauren Young — testified they had no further contact with Weinstein after they were allegedly assaulted. Those incidents happened too far in the past to be covered directly by New York's statutes. The first charge of predatory sexual assault is tied to Haley and Sciorra; the second is tied to Mann and Sciorra.

Weinstein's defense in the month-long trial was that all of the sexual encounters were consensual. His lawyer, Donna Ruttono, also said they were transactional: "Every single one of these women reaches out and asks for things and he does anything he can," she told the jury.

Weinstein also faces criminal charges in California, where Young's alleged attack, unlike in New York, is still triable under state law. If convicted here, Weinstein could face as up to 28 years in state prison.

His movie company filed for bankruptcy protection and sold its operations two years ago.

REACTIONS

A group of Weinstein accusers known as the Silence Breakers reacted to the verdict during a call this morning with reporters.

"The era of impunity for powerful men who rape people is over," said actor Mira Sorvino, who's part of the group. She praised the other women who have come forward to report on Weinstein's behavior.

"I don't think you can understand if you haven't been through this and haven't gone public how immensely difficult and life-changing it is to bring out some of the worst memories in your life into the public eye and become the fodder for debate, for gossip, even for pity," Sorvino said.

Sorvino also praised the journalists who broke the story of Weinstein's abuse, including Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker and Megan Twohey of The New York Times.

Actor Caitlin Dulany said she was "incredibly grateful to the jury" for convicting Weinstein on two counts, although disappointed they didn't convict on the predatory sexual assault charges.

"What those women went through on the stand broke my heart," Dulany said, "and I'm so happy today that the jury believed them, and I have a renewed sense of faith that women will be believed when they come forward."

Speaking on KPCC's Take Two today, Melissa Silverstein, founder of the website Women and Hollywood, said she was "surprised and thrilled" by the jury's verdict.

"It's monumental," Silverstein said. "It's a moment where a person who held power over a lot of people was convicted. He will always be known as a rapist."

UPDATES:

1:50 p.m.: This article was updated with reactions from Weinstein accusers.

This article was originally published at 8:51 a.m.

— Jill Replogle and Caroline Champlin contributed reporting.