Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of rape and sexual assault in a Los Angeles trial

A Los Angeles jury has found Harvey Weinstein guilty of rape and sexual assault, five years after dozens of women spoke out against the Hollywood producer and prompted the #MeToo movement.

After more than nine days of deliberations, the jury convicted Weinstein on three counts of rape and sexual assault against one woman, a European model and actress who testified anonymously as “Jane Doe 1,” while remaining divided on three other counts of rape and sexual assault. assault by two co-accused, including Jennifer Seibel Newsom, wife of the California governor. Weinstein was also acquitted of the sexual assault charge brought by a fourth woman.

A guilty verdict on some of the most serious charges in the L.A. case, including forcible rape, sent the former Hollywood stockbroker down in the city where he once worked as “king.” Weinstein, 70, who is already serving a 23-year prison sentence after a criminal conviction in New York in 2020, now faces an additional 18 to 24 years maximum.

But the jury’s inability to reach a verdict on the criminality of Weinstein’s actions toward two women, including Sibel Newsom, whose husband is widely expected to run for president, could be a difficult outcome for some of the more than 90 women who have spoken out. about being sexually assaulted or harassed by Weinstein during his decades-long career.

This verdict is the second time Weinstein has been convicted of sexual offenses. The jury in Weinstein’s criminal trial in New York reached a similarly mixed verdict, convicting the former producer of third-degree rape and sexual assault, but acquitting him of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape.

A jury was unable to reach a verdict on three of the seven criminal charges Weinstein faced, which involve two different victims, after weeks of graphic and emotional testimony from eight women who testified Weinstein raped or sexually assaulted them in hotels around the world, many during what they believed to be It will be networking meetings about opportunities in the film industry. Weinstein only faced criminal charges in the case of the alleged assaults that occurred in California, which involved four women.

Some of the most emotional testimony at the trial came from Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker who is now married to California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Sibel Newsom testified Weinstein assaulted and raped her during what she believed was a business meeting at a hotel in 2005, when she was a young actress and producer still trying to find her way in the industry. Sibel Newsom wept repeatedly on the stand, calling the alleged attack her “worst nightmare,” and faced vicious cross-examination from Weinstein’s attorneys.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on whether Weinstein forcibly raped and assaulted her, which led to a mistrial on these charges.

“While we are relieved that the jury found Weinstein guilty on some counts, we are disappointed that the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on Jane Doe 4,” Siebel Newsom attorney Elizabeth Fegan said in a statement.

The “heroes” of all the women who testified, Fegan said, “ensured that Harvey Weinstein will likely spend the rest of his life in prison where he belongs, and that people like him understand the consequences of their actions.” “We are grateful that these jurors saw Weinstein for what he is — a serial predator.”

Sibel Newsom will “continue to fight for all women and all survivors of abuse against a system that allows victim shame and re-traumatization in the name of justice,” Fegan said.

Jennifer Seibel Newsom applauds her husband, Governor Gavin Newsom, after her inaugural state address in Sacramento, California, in March 2022. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/The Associated Press

Throughout the trial, the prosecution painted Weinstein as a “predator” who used a pattern of manipulation and coercion to deceive his prey. “For this predator, the hotels were his trap,” Marilyn Martinez, the attorney on the case, said during closing arguments. She pointed to patterns in testimonies of women who described Weinstein approaching and attacking them in similar ways.

Martinez said Weinstein’s accusers were pursuing their Hollywood dreams, but “at the end of that dream was the monster at the end of that table.”

“He couldn’t do this to anyone else.”

Weinstein, who chose not to testify, appeared shrunken and pale as he sat in court as the weeks went by. When the first guilty verdicts were read Monday, he appeared to put his head in his hands.

The 70-year-old has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and his lawyers have mounted an aggressive defense, attacking his accusers’ credibility and calling Siebel Newsom a “bimbo.”

Legal observers said the blatant misogyny in Weinstein’s defense was startling, and seemed like a throwback to 1980s tactics.

Weinstein’s defense argued that two of the defendants had fabricated testimony, and that the others had engaged in consensual sex, which they were attempting to retroactively classify as assault. Team Weinstein too Graphic details including the sounds made by Siebel Newsom during her alleged assault, as well as the accuracy of another accuser’s description of Weinstein’s genitals, were also investigated.

In his closing arguments, defense attorney Alan Jackson warned the jury not to be swayed by the impact of the #MeToo movement, and said the testimony of eight different women did not provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that he had committed any crime.

“The truth is constant. It’s not a feeling. It’s not a whim. The law is not captive to the quicksand of grassroots movement.”

Jackson called Siebel Newsom’s decision to speak out against Weinstein in 2017 as other women began speaking out, a choice spurred by public perception: “I turned on him in a second, not because he was right, but because he was fashionable,” Jackson said.

Harvey Weinstein at a pre-trial hearing in Los Angeles.  He looked pale and frail during the weeks-long trial.
Harvey Weinstein at a pre-trial hearing in Los Angeles. He looked pale and frail during the weeks-long trial. Photo: Reuters

The Weinstein defense team’s personal attacks on Siebel Newsom, including claims that she “must be lying, must do it for some personal gain” are the same tropes “that are used against all kinds of people we support,” said Jennifer Mondino, principal Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which provides assistance to people who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, “truck drivers, farm workers, and domestic workers.”

“These are some of the reasons why survivors are reluctant to come forward…the fear that people will bring up these same stereotypes about them,” Mondino said.

Robert Weisberg, a Stanford law professor who specializes in criminal law, said the general public tends to underestimate the importance of juries, how well the evidence is weighed, and the standard of reasonable doubt for each count in a large case.

If jurors know they will convict a defendant on some counts, “and have a vague sense of the length of the sentence,” Weisberg said, they may also feel more comfortable acquitting the defendant on other counts that they are less likely to do. Sure, “because it’s not all or nothing.”

Weinstein originally faced 11 counts of rape and assault out of a total of five defendants, but prosecutors said midway through the trial that the fifth accuser would not testify, and four charges related to her were dropped.

As a New York court agreed to hear an appeal of Weinstein’s conviction, some of the dozens of women who spoke out against him worried that, like Bill Cosby, he might end up being paroled.

“If he was out now, he would still be doing what he was doing before,” said Don Dunning, 43, who testified at Weinstein’s trial in New York, ahead of the sentencing in Los Angeles. “It even worries me that this is a possibility.”

For the women who testified in the New York trial, “it honestly didn’t matter” what he believed the jury chose to convict, which they didn’t, Dunning said.

She said she expected the reaction of the women who testified in Los Angeles would be the same. She said, “It doesn’t matter what the charges are.” “We just want him to stay in jail so he can’t do that to anyone else.”

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