Harvey Weinstein Convicted of Felony Sexual Assault
Women's rights advocates on Monday applauded the dozens of women whose decision to come forward about Harvey Weinstein's pattern of sexual assault helped bring the former film executive and powerful Hollywood producer to justice, after he was found guilty of two sexual assault charges.
A jury in New York found Weinstein guilty of two felonies, first degree sex assault and third degree rape. It acquitted him of two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first degree rape.
Although the verdict was split, New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor—who broke the story of Weinstein's decades of alleged abuse in 2018, setting off the #MeToo movement—tweeted that it signified the end of an era in which Weinstein faced no accountability for his actions.
"I'm Harvey Weinstein-- you know what I can do."
Weinstein, whose signature throughout forty years of allegations was lack of accountability, has been declared guilty on two counts.— jodikantor (@jodikantor) February 24, 2020
"Today is a historic victory for survivors of sexual abuse everywhere, and the #MeToo movement that emerged in the wake of the courageous women who came forward to share their stories about Weinstein's predatory and abusive behavior," said Shaunna Thomas, executive director of women's rights group UltraViolet. "This verdict sends a clear signal that sexual abusers everywhere can and will be held accountable for their crimes—even if they enjoy significant positions of power."
The verdict was handed down three days after the jury of seven men and five women told the judge they were deadlocked over the allegations of actress Annabella Sciorra, who testified about an attack by Weinstein that took place in the 1990s.
The guilty verdicts were found in the cases of a production assistant, Miriam Haley, and an aspiring actress, Jessica Mann, both of whom accused Weinstein of assaulting them in 2006 and 2013. On social media, many offered support to the women and many others in Hollywood whose allegations of sexual harassment and assault set off the global #MeToo movement.
"Congratulations to the journalists who took risks and the news organizations that backed them. So much love and support to survivors everywhere," tweeted Catherine Mayer, co-founder of the Women's Equality Party in the United Kingdom.
So much love and support to the brave women who brought Weinstein to justice. Congratulations to the the journalists who took risks and the news organisations that backed them. So much love and support to survivors everywhere. #metoo https://t.co/IQto3WgHt6— Catherine Mayer (@catherine_mayer) February 24, 2020
Harvey Weinstein has been declared guilty on two counts
GUILTY: Criminal sexual act in the first degree
GUILTY: Third degree rape
While he was not convicted of the more serious charges, this is a big day for the brave women who stepped forward & risked everything to speak out— Yashar Ali (@yashar) February 24, 2020
Breaking: #HarveyWeinstein has been found guilty on two counts, including rape.
Though the verdict is one many hoped for, this news may still bring up difficult emotions, especially for survivors.
Let's be sure to take care of ourselves and each other. pic.twitter.com/mz5OEI1oTa— UltraViolet (@UltraViolet) February 24, 2020
Actress Ellen Barkin, an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo movement, tweeted that Weinstein's conviction represents a rarity in rape cases.
0.7% of sex criminals are convicted. weinstein has been convicted https://t.co/f1Ppy3ploe— Ellen Barkin (@EllenBarkin) February 24, 2020
"While the evidence against Weinstein was overwhelming, today's verdict was not guaranteed," said Thomas. "Survivors of sexual abuse often face tremendous obstacles in the legal system that block them from winning the justice they deserve. We must do better to ensure that survivors are not only protected under the law, but empowered to pursue a path toward justice."
With the sentencing phase still pending, Weinstein could face five to 25 years in prison for first degree sexual assault and 18 months to four years for rape in the third degree. He was reportedly sent straight to jail Monday to await his sentencing, which will take place March 11. His legal team began proceedings to appeal the verdict.
He also faces four sexual assault and rape charges in Los Angeles.
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