Jurors have found disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein guilty of rape in the third degree and criminal sexual assault Monday, but cleared him of more serious charges of predatory sexual assault. They also cleared him of rape in the first degree.
The jury of seven men and five women returned the verdict in a Manhattan courtroom after more than four days of deliberation. The high-profile trial got underway with opening statements on January 22.
Jurors heard harrowing and at times emotional testimony from six of Weinstein’s accusers, including aspiring actress Jessica Mann, who accused him of raping her in a New York hotel room 2013. He was charged with rape in the first and third degree.
He was also charged with committing a criminal sexual act for allegedly forcing oral sex on former production assistant Miriam Haley in 2006.
“Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra also testified in the case. She said Weinstein barged his way into her New York apartment in late 1993 or early 1994, pinned her to a bed and raped her.
Weinstein was not charged with raping Sciorra because the alleged incident happened too long ago under state law, but jurors were allowed to consider her testimony when determining whether he is guilty of two counts of predatory sexual assault. That charge, which carries a possible term of life imprisonment, required jurors to find that he sexually assaulted more than one woman.
Three other accusers also took the stand as prosecutors sought to prove Weinstein had a pattern of assaulting women.
Weinstein claimed any sexual encounters were consensual. Defense attorneys sought to discredit the accusers’ accounts by pointing to some of the women’s friendly communications with Weinstein after the alleged assaults, painting them as opportunists who sought to use Weinstein’s power in the movie industry to boost their careers. But prosecutors argued Weinstein wielded that power to manipulate and silence his accusers, whom they said he viewed as “complete disposables.”
More than 80 women in total have accused Weinstein of some kind of sexual misconduct. The allegations against Weinstein were first exposed in reporting in 2017 by The New York Times and The New Yorker, galvanizing the #MeToo movement that has empowered women across the globe to come forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment against powerful men.
Weinstein is also expected to face sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, but the timing of that case remains unclear.