Law & the Courts

Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty on Two Counts, Avoids Most Serious Charges

Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Courtroom during his ongoing sexual assault trial in New York City, New York, February 24, 2020. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was found guilty by a jury on Monday of criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree.

The Manhattan jury found Weinstein not guilty of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault, which is punishable by up to life in prison.

Weinstein was handcuffed and escorted from the room by police following the announcement, and will be jailed as he awaits sentencing. He appeared unmoved as the verdict was read.

“This is the new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in America, I believe, and this is a new day,” Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance said in a press conference after the verdict. “It’s a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for crimes he committed.”

The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for five days over the charges, which were brought by two women, who both testified in the case. Four other women testified that Weinstein had sexually assaulted them in order to establish a pattern of behavior.

On Friday, the jury revealed they were deadlocked on the predatory sexual assault charges, and asked the judge if they could be hung on the counts while returning verdicts for the other three charges. Judge James Burke advised them to keep deliberating, while Weinstein’s lawyers indicated they would accept a partial verdict — which prosecutors opposed.

Weinstein, who pleaded not guilty to the charges in August, was defended by Donna Rotunno, who called the indictment “desperate” and an “eleventh-hour maneuver,” and expressed confidence that the case could be won after it began.

In December, the producer reached a tentative $25 million out-of-court settlement with a number of his 30-plus accusers whose cases would otherwise be difficult to pursue.

Journalist Ronan Farrow first detailed the case against Weinstein in the New Yorker in 2017, and said that his former network, NBC, had buried the story over fears that Weinstein could retaliate by revealing the allegations against former Today Show host Matt Lauer.

Farrow also said in October that Hillary Clinton’s team “became nervous” over Farrow’s investigative work in exposing Weinstein.

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