Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty in Sexual Assault Trial
A decision has been made in the trial of Harvey Weinstein. According to multiple outlets, the former Hollywood mogul was found guilty of rape in the third degree and of criminal sexual assault in the first degree. He was facing two counts of rape, one count of criminal sexual act and two counts of predatory sexual assault after being accused of raping one woman in 2013 and forcing oral sex on a production assistant named Mimi Haleyi in 2006. Since being indicted by a grand jury in 2019, Weinstein has maintained that his sexual encounters with the women were consensual and pleaded not guilty to those charges.
The verdict comes after five days of deliberation, which first started on Tuesday, Feb. 18. A jury consisting of seven men and five women heard intense testimonies from one of Weinstein’s accusers as well as several witnesses, including five actresses, called to speak out against his bad behavior. Meanwhile, the defense countered with their own witnesses -- a former Miramax employee and two other actresses -- who attempted to discredit the prosecution's case.
Despite reports that actresses Salma Hayek and Charlize Theron were among the 90 potential witnesses presented to Judge James Burke, who was presiding over the trial, the only A-list star called to the stand was Rosie Perez. She testified as a witness to Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra’s allegations of rape against Weinstein, which were not part of the criminal charges because the supposed timeline was outside of New York’s statute of limitations.
Hollywood was rocked when the New York Times and New Yorker published explosive investigative reports detailing decades of alleged sexual misconduct and abuse by Weinstein in the fall of 2017. Since then, more than 80 women -- including Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow -- have come forward with accusations against someone long thought to be the industry’s most untouchable power player. Weinstein has denied all accusations of unlawful, nonconsensual sex.
While the New York trial has drawn to a close, Weinstein’s legal troubles are far from over. In January, on the first day of the Manhattan proceedings, Los Angeles prosecutors announced new sexual assault charges -- “raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents back in 2013” -- against the disgraced mogul. “We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit violent crimes against them,” L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement. If convicted, he faces up to 28 years in prison. His legal team has yet to formally respond to the new charges.
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