Guilty. The jury in Harvey Weinstein‘s sexual misconduct case reached a verdict on Monday, February 24, convicting the former film producer on two counts: third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act. He was acquitted on first-degree rape and two charges of predatory sexual assault after the jury seemingly revealed that they had been deadlocked on Friday, February 21.
Two of the three charges Weinstein, 67, was acquitted on carried a possible sentence of life imprisonment, meaning he was convicted on the least severe charges he faced. However, first-degree criminal sexual act can carry a sentence of up to 25 years in prison and has a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison. Rape in the third degree carries a maximum sentence of four years.
The legal battle began when the producer turned himself in in May 2018 and was indicted on further charges in July 2018. “A Manhattan Grand Jury has now indicted Harvey Weinstein on some of the most serious sexual offenses that exist under New York’s Penal Law,” Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement at the time. “This indictment is the result of the extraordinary courage exhibited by the survivors who have come forward.”
Ben Brafman, one of the businessman’s lawyers, indicated he planned to plead “not guilty” to all possible charges. “Mr. Weinstein maintains that all of these allegations are false, and he expects to be fully vindicated,” the attorney said. “Furthermore, to charge Mr. Weinstein as a predator when the interactions were each consensual is simply not justified.”
The charges the producer faced in court weren’t the only allegations against him. In 2017, actress Rose McGowan was one of many who came forward to accuse Weinstein of rape. Salma Hayek claimed he sexually harassed her and pressured her into shooting a sex scene. Though Nicole Kidman was never assaulted by him, she revealed she “purposely kept [her] distance” because of his temper and supported the women who did speak out.
“As I’ve stated before publicly, I support and applaud all women and these women who speak out against any abuse and misuse of power — be it domestic violence or sexual harassment in the workforce,” the Big Little Lies star said. “We need to eradicate this behavior.”
Despite that, Weinstein has long maintained his innocence. “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister told The New Yorker in 2017. “With respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
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