LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a trial that lasted a month and nine days of deliberation, jurors in Los Angeles on Monday found Harvey Weinstein guilty of rape and sexual assault of only one of the four defendants accused of abusing them.
But the three counts of guilt involving an Italian actor and model known in trial as Jane Doe 1 still dealt a major blow against the disgraced film mogul, and provided another moment for the #MeToo account, five years after he became a magnet for the movement.
Weinstein, 70, who served two years in a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault in New York on appeal, could go up to 24 years in prison in California upon conviction.
He was found guilty of rape, forced oral sex and another count of sexual misconduct involving the woman who said he appeared uninvited at her hotel room door during a film festival in Los Angeles in 2013.
“Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night in 2013 and I will never get that back. The criminal trial was rough and Weinstein’s lawyers put me through hell on the witness stand, but I knew I had to see it.” Until the end, and I did.” “I hope Weinstein never sees the outside of a prison cell during his life.”
Weinstein was acquitted of an allegation of sexual battery made by a massage therapist who treated him at a hotel in 2010.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the charges related to two of the defendants, particularly the charges of rape and sexual assault implicating Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. A mistrial was declared on these charges.
Weinstein looked at the table and appeared to have his face in his hands as the preliminary charges were read. He looked forward while the rest of the verdict was read.
“Harvey is clearly frustrated with the verdict. He knows what happened and what never happened,” Weinstein spokeswoman Judah Engelmayer said in an email, saying there is a strong basis for appeal of the convictions. “Harvey is grateful for the jury’s work on the other counts.” He is determined to pursue his legal challenges to finally prove his innocence.”
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon commended the defendants for their courage in testifying in the case, saying in a statement that he was disappointed by the split verdict, but hoped it would bring “a modicum of justice for the victims.”
Harvey Weinstein will not be able to rape another woman. “He will spend the rest of his life behind bars, where he belongs,” Sibel Newsom said in a statement. “Throughout the trial, Weinstein’s attorneys used sexist, misogynistic, and bullying tactics to intimidate, demean, and mock survivors. The trial was a stark reminder that we as a society have work to do.”
The sharp and dramatic testimony of Siebel Newsom, in which she described being raped by Weinstein in a hotel room in 2005, brought about the most dramatic trial. But only eight of the 12 jurors agreed to convict Weinstein on these charges.
The jury was deadlocked 10-2 on the number of sexual battery involving Lauren Young, the only defendant to testify in both Weinstein trials. She said she was a model with aspirations to be an actress and screenwriter who was meeting with Weinstein about a script in 2013 when he cornered her in a hotel bathroom, groped her and masturbated in front of her.
Lacking any forensic evidence or eyewitness accounts of allegations made years ago, the case relies heavily on the stories and credibility of the four women at the center of the charges.
The women’s stories echoed the allegations of dozens of other women who have come forward since Weinstein’s #MeToo became a lightning rod starting with stories in the New York Times in 2017. A movie about those reports, “She Said,” was released during the trial, and jurors have been warned repeatedly by not seeing it.
It was the defense that made #MeToo an issue during the trial, however, asserting that none of the four women went to authorities until after the movement made Weinstein a target.
Defense attorneys said that two of the women — including the one who will be found guilty of rape — were outright lying about their encounter with Weinstein. They said the other two had “100% consensual” sexual interactions which they later restated.
Defense attorneys said during the trial that if Sibel Newsom did not reach her later prominence, she would be “just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein getting ahead in Hollywood.”
“Remorse is not the same as rape,” said Weinstein’s attorney Alan Jackson in his closing argument.
He urged jurors to move beyond the women’s emotional testimony and focus on factual evidence.
“We believed it because we were crazy, we believed it because we cried,” Jackson said, jurors were asked to do so. “Well, anger doesn’t make the truth. Tears don’t make the truth.”
All of the women involved in the charges went by Jane Doe in court. The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly or agree to be named through their attorneys, as the women named here have done.
Prosecutors called 40 other witnesses in an effort to give context and support to those stories. Four other women were not part of the charges but testified that Weinstein raped or sexually assaulted them. They were brought onto the platform to establish a pattern of sexual predation.
Weinstein hit four more criminal charges before the trial concluded even as prosecutors said the woman he accused of twice rape and twice sexual assault would not testify. They refused to give a reason. Judge Lisa Lynch dismissed those charges.
Weinstein’s latest conviction gives victims of sexual misconduct to famous men a victory in the wake of some legal setbacks, including the dismissal of Bill Cosby’s conviction last year. “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson’s rape trial, which was held simultaneously and just down the hall from Weinstein, ended in a mistrial. Actor Kevin Spacey won a civil battery trial in New York last month.
Weinstein’s New York conviction survived an initial appeal, but the case is scheduled to be heard by the state’s highest court next year. The California conviction, which is also likely to be appealed, means he will not get out of jail even if the East Coast conviction is overturned.
Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton
For more information on the Harvey Weinstein experience, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/harvey-weinstein
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