Harvey Weinstein Richard Drew/AP/Shutterstock UPDATE, with District Attorney comments
Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of rape in the third degree and criminal sexual acts in the first degree, bringing his seven-week New York trial to a conviction in the central criminal case of the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein was remanded to custody by New York Supreme Court Judge James Burke pending sentencing on Wednesday, March 11. His defense attorney Donna Rotunno made an unsuccessful last-ditch plea to keep Weinstein free on bail due, in part, to his ill health and pain as a result of an auto accident last summer, but the judge did not grant the request.
Four New York court marshals immediately surrounded Weinstein, seated at the defense table. As many as nine other officers were stationed alongside walls and doors in the Lower Manhattan courtroom.
Weinstein remained quiet throughout the verdict delivery, staring forward toward the judge’s bench.
In a post-verdict press conference, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance called Weinstein a “vicious, serial sexual predator,” and praised the six women who testified against him as “brave” and “heroic” who have “changed the course of history”
“Rape is rape,” Vance said, whether committed “in a dark alley by a strange” or by “a man of immense power” and privilege.”
“This is a new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in America,” Vance said. “A new day.”
A poll of the jury found unanimity, including on the not guilty verdicts returned for two predatory sexual assault charges involving actress Annabella Sciorra.
The first-degree charge, stemming from allegations by former Project Runway production assistant Miriam “Mimi” Haley that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at his Soho apartment in 2006, could see the Miramax co-creator face up to 25 years in prison, with a minimum of four years.
The third-degree rape count, based on a 2013 rape allegation by Weinstein’s former hairstylist and aspiring actress Jessica Mann, could bring up to four years in prison, though probation on that count is possible.
With the 25 year maximum, the conviction could see the 67-year-old Weinstein spend the rest of his life in prison. He also faces a sexual misconduct trial in Los Angeles involving two women, one of whom — Lauren Marie Young — testified in New York to bolster the Haley and Mann cases.
The jury found him not guilty on two counts of predatory sexual assault, apparently dismissing or deadlocking on a rape allegation made by actress Annabella Sciorra. In order to convict on the predatory counts, the jury had to find that Weinstein guilty in the cases of Mann and/or Haley, plus Sciorra.
Weinstein’s New York trial covered five criminal counts, including two of predatory sexual assault, one involving Haley and Sciorra, the other count involving Sciorra and Mann. If the jury had unanimously agreed on either count of the predatory charges, Weinstein could have been sentenced to life in prison.
In addition to the predatory counts, Weinstein was charged with one count of criminal sexual assault (against Haley), and two counts of rape (one in the first degree, one in the third, both involving Mann). Those first-degree crimes carry possible prison sentences of five to 25 years; the third degree crime, up to four years in prison.
Haley, now 42, was a Project Runway production assistant in 2006 when, she says, Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in his Soho apartment on a July night in 2006. (That allegation resulted in a charge of criminal sexual assault in the first degree; Haley’s account of having sex with Weinstein later that month at the TriBeCa Grand Hotel, under duress but not physically forced, did not produce criminal charges.)
Mann, 34, a former actress, model and hairstylist, claimed Weinstein raped her on March 18, 2013 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
Although Sciorra’s rape allegation against Weinstein couldn’t be tried due to exceeding the statute of limitations — she says the incident occurred in her Gramercy Park apartment during the winter of 1993-1994 — New York law allowed her testimony to be used in conjunction with that of Haley and Mann to establish predatory behavior.
Three other women, including Young, testified to their own accounts of sexual misconduct involving Weinstein, as the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office attempted to portray the producer as a longtime abuser who preyed on young woman attempting to gain a foothold in the film industry.
Since deliberations began Feb. 18, jurors repeatedly requested to re-hear testimony and review evidence relating to Sciorra, a possible indication the jury was focusing heavily — and disagreeing — on the predatory sexual abuse charges.
In addition to requesting to re-hear the January 24 testimony of actress Rosie Perez — including her account of a phone call in the early 1990s in which her friend Sciorra spoke of the rape — the jury requested all Sciorra-related emails, including those between Weinstein and his private investigators Black Cube and Guidepost Solutions. The Miramax co-creator hired the companies in 2017 to investigate Sciorra and other women he suspected were co-operating with Ronan Farrow for what turned out to be the journalist’s blockbuster Weinstein exposé in The New Yorker.
Once one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers of Oscar-winning fare and and critically adored indie films, Weinstein’s world was blown apart in October 2017 when exposés in The New Yorker and The New York Times reported that scores of women claimed to have been the victims of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.