Harvey Weinstein, the defamed movie producer whose downfall sparked the MeToo movement, has been found guilty of the rape of two women in a New York city trial.
A jury in New York found Harvey Weinstein guilty of two counts criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. This verdict comes after decades of rumors surrounding Weinstein’s inappropriate behavior, his abuse of power and women and dozens on dozens of allegations made against him. At the start of this trial, Weinstein was acquitted of the lengthier charge of two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of rape in the first degree, but after sitting through a two year trial and deliberating for 26 and a half hours over five day, they reached a guilty verdict.
During the trial, the two victims, Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann testified against Weinstein along with six other women. While it was understood that he could not be charged for the abuse of the six women, they were allowed to testify in order to establish a pattern of abuse. Miriam Haley, former television production assistant, was assaulted in 2006 at Weinstein’s Manhattan apartment and Jessica Mann, an aspirin actress, was assaulted in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013. Years later, they were finally able to see their abuser have his day in court. It is unclear how long Weinstein will be in jail, as sentencing has not yet taken place, however for the charge of criminal sex act in the first degree he faces a minimum of five years and a max of 25. For the charge of rape in the third degree he faces no minimum but a maximum of four years.
Harvey Weinstein first had a brush with the law when in 2015 Italian model, Ambra Battilana, accused him of forcible touching. The case however, was thrown out. Two years later in August 2017, rumors began to swirl again, which Weinstein heard about due to the investigations of different journalists. Later that year on October 5th, the New York Times published a lengthy article detailing their investigation. Their article contained testimony from several women, Ashley Judd, Emily Nestor and mentioned the assaults of his assistant in New York in 1990, an actress in 1997, his assistant in London in 1998, the before mentioned Italian model in 2015 and his colleague Lauren O’Connor.
Five days later on October 10, 2017, Ronan Farrow published on article in the New Yorker further detailing his abuse and naming more of Harvey Weinstein’s victims. Farrow conducted a ten month investigation and found 13 women who said they had been sexually assaulted, three of them accusing him of rape and four accusing him of forcible touching. Aside from the accusers, Farrow found 16 current or former employees of Weinstein who were able to corroborate the women’s allegations. Farrow also had testimony from actresses Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette claiming they believe they were blacklisted because they refused Weinstein’s advances and filed complaints against him.
The public outcry these two articles caused and the movement they created not only motivated other women who were abused by Weinstein to speak out but also led the New York Police Department to investigate. In May 2018, after years of believing he was untouchable, Weinstein was arrested on charges of rape and criminal sexual acts. This chapter of the saga is over, however he still faces charges in Los Angeles. In January 2020, Weinstein was charged with four counts of rape and sexual battery, stemming from incidents in Los Angeles in 2013.
For more information and access to the articles mentioned above visit the New York Times website.