Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty Of Sexually Assaulting Two Women & Reportedly Faces Up To 29 Years In Prison
Trigger warning: This story discusses sexual assault.
Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty on two counts — criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree — by a Manhattan jury on Monday (February 24). He was acquitted of one count of rape in the first degree and two counts of predatory sexual assault, the latter of which carried a potential life sentence. According to Vulture, the 67-year-old Weinstein faces a maximum 29 years in prison.
Per BuzzFeed, the former Hollywood mogul could only be indicted on two of the five charges against him at maximum; the charges levied against him were by the actor Jessica Mann, who said Weinstein raped her in 2013, and by Miriam "Mimi" Haley, a former production assistant on Project Runway who said Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2006. He was convicted of a criminal sexual act in the first degree for assaulting Haley, and of rape in the third degree for assaulting Mann.
In New York state, rape in the third degree is defined as subjecting someone to "sexual intercourse [...] without such person's consent where such lack of consent is by reason of some factor other than incapacity to consent."
The jury deliberated for 30 hours after hearing weeks of testimony, the New York Times reported. A total of 35 witnesses testified, including four women — Dawn Dunning, Annabella Sciorra, Tarale Wulff, and Lauren Marie Young — who stated that Weinstein had sexually assaulted them, to establish a pattern of predatory behavior. Sciorra, who appeared in several episodes of The Sopranos, faced a barrage of victim-blaming questions from Weinstein's defense attorneys when she took the stand on January 23, BuzzFeed noted.
Weinstein had previously avoided prosecution in 2015, when the actor Ambra Battilana Gutierrez accused him of groping her.
Rumors regarding Weinstein's abuses had followed him for decades; it was only when a pair of concurrent investigations by the New York Times and the New Yorker were published within days of each other in October 2017 that it seemed possible that justice would be done. All told, dozens of survivors have come forward to share what they endured at Weinstein's hands, which ranged from predatory behavior, to sexual harassment, to rape. After the allegations went live, the floodgates opened: Activist Tarana Burke's Me Too movement went viral, and thousands of people shared their own experiences with harassment and assault using the hashtag #MeToo.
"This case reminds us that sexual violence thrives on unchecked power and privilege. The implications reverberate far beyond Hollywood and into the daily lives of all of us in the rest of the world," Burke said in a statement following Weinstein's verdict. "Though today a man has been found guilty, we have to wonder whether anyone will care about the rest of us tomorrow. This is why we say MeToo."
This article was written by Ella Ceron, and originally appeared on MTV.com.
Main Image Credit: Under licence from Getty