Movie producer Harvey Weinstein, 69, the man whose abhorrent behavior helped launch the #MeToo movement, had his day in court this week. A New York City jury found Weinstein guilty on two counts out of five counts, but he escaped conviction on the most serious charges.
Still, he will go to prison for his third-degree rape and felony sex crime convictions, although the two charges of sexual predatory assault for which he was acquitted would have incarcerated him for life. He faces between five and 29 years on the charges for which he was convicted. Weinstein’s $2 million bail was immediately revoked by the judge post-verdict. He is scheduled for sentencing on March 11.
Weinstein was convicted of a third-degree rape involving actress Jessica Mann at a New York hotel in 2006 and of a first-degree criminal sex act on his former production assistant, Mimi Hayeli, in 2006. The latter incident took place in the woman’s New York City apartment.
However, he was acquitted of the charges that probably brought the most publicity, that of raping “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra in her New York City apartment in either late 1993 or early 1994. All three women underwent intense cross-examination by Weinstein’s attorneys.
Sciorra, 59, described how Weinstein forced his way into her apartment on a winter night and proceeded to attack her. She described trying to get him off her by kicking and punching, but he finally grabbed her hands, hoisted them over her head and raped her.
“It was just so disgusting that my body started to shake in a way that was very unusual,” she said. According to the Los Angeles Times, Sciorra said, “I didn’t really even know what was happening. It was like a seizure or something.”
She was the first of his alleged victims to face him in court, and her testimony lasted nearly two hours. Weinstein’s attorney pressed her on why she never reported the rape, and Sciorra said the rape left her “brutalized,” and she began drinking to ease the pain. She also testified that Weinstein continued to pursue her at various venues over the next few years.
Weinstein is still facing charges in Los Angeles. An Italian actress alleges Weinstein raped her and made her perform oral sex on him in 2013 after the two met at a film festival. She says he threatened to have her killed if she told anyone. The day following this incident, Weinstein allegedly trapped a woman named Lauren Young in a bathroom and then masturbated while fondling her.
While the LA District Attorney’s Office previously advocated $5 million in bail for Weinstein, it is unknown currently whether his conviction will alter that recommendation. Weinstein faces up to 28 years in prison if convicted in California.
Ever since he was arrested in 2018, Weinstein has received extraordinarily special treatment for an alleged sex offender. Until he was taken to Riker’s Island after the verdict – where he ended up in the infirmary – he had spent a couple of hours in custody during processing. For most people, the period between arrest and arraignment is about 24 hours.
Appealing the Verdict
Not surprisingly, it was announced on February 26 that Weinstein planned to appeal the verdict. His lawyers may bring up the judge’s rulings, as well as his decision to allow a juror who wrote a novel about old male predators to serve.
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