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Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty at his rape trial
Via Wikimedia Commons

Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty at his rape trial

The disgraced mogul has finally been brought to justice as he’s charged on two counts of sexual assault

Harvey Weinstein, whose manipulation and sexual abuse of young women in Hollywood went unstopped for decades, has finally been found guilty at his long-awaited rape trial.

The disgraced producer has been charged on two counts, but acquitted on three other charges. Weinstein has been found guilty of committing a criminal sex act in the first degree and rape in the third degree, involving two different women. However, the New York jury also found the mogul not guilty of two more serious charges of predatory sexual assault, as well as first-degree rape.

The verdict means Weinstein will face prison time, though it’s not yet clear how long he will be sentenced for (although sentencing is reportedly set for March 11). According to The Guardian, the criminal sex act charge carries a minimum sentence of five years and maximum of 25, while third-degree rape carries a maximum of four years and no minimum, but requires Weinstein to register as a sex offender.

The guilty verdicts relate to an incident in which he forced oral sex on production assistant Miriam Haley at his Manhattan apartment in 2006, and the third-degree rape of aspiring actor Jessica Mann in 2013. The not guilty verdicts – which could have resulted in a life sentence – were given on charges by actor Annabella Sciorra, who alleged that the producer raped her in the 1990s, as well as Haley and Mann.

Weinstein’s conviction marks a huge moment both for the #MeToo movement – which stemmed from the 2017 New York Times exposé about the producer’s crimes – and for victims of sexual violence more widely. Speaking to The Guardian, Michelle Simpson Tuegel, an attorney who represents sexual assault survivors, said: “No matter how powerful a person is, no matter how much mud or dirt may be flung at those who have the courage to come forward, we are in a new time. The #MeToo era has thankfully started to unmask these systems of abuse of power, and now women can be heard and believed.” 

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the journalists who exposed Weinstein, have been following the trial closely since it began on January 6, both being among the first to break the news of the producer’s guilty verdict. Speaking to Dazed in November last year, the pair said they were determined to bring Weinstein to justice once they unearthed the extent of his crimes. “We feared that next year we would see Harvey Weinstein at the Oscars, and would have to watch him remain in a position where he could potentially harm other women.”

A group of 23 ‘Silence Breakers’ – AKA Weinstein accusers – including Ashley Judd and Rosanna Arquette, posted a statement to Twitter following the verdict. They said: “While it is disappointing that today’s outcome does not deliver the true, full justice that so many women deserve, Harvey Weinstein will now forever be known as a convicted serial predator. This conviction would not be possible without the testimony of the many women who have spoken out. Despite intimidation from Weinstein’s legal team, the courtroom and the world, they courageously shared their stories with the jury, the courtroom, and the world. As we have said before from our very first statement together as Silence Breakers: we refuse to be silenced and will continue to speak out until this unrepentant abuser is brought to justice.”

Weinstein – who has been accused of sexual assault by over 80 women – is still set to face trial in Los Angeles for four more counts of rape and sexual battery charges.