Harvey Weinstein found guilty of three counts, including rape, in LA sexual assault trial

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(LOS ANGELES) — A Los Angeles jury has found disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein guilty of three of seven counts, including one count of rape of Jane Doe 1, in his Los Angeles sexual assault trial.

The jury found Weinstein not guilty of one count — sexual battery by restraint of Jane Doe 3 — and it was hung on three counts, including forcible rape of Jane Doe 4. The jury will return Tuesday to hear arguments on special findings.

Weinstein, who is already serving a 23-year prison sentence in New York for criminal sexual assault and third-degree rape, was accused by four women of assaulting them in hotels between 2004 and 2013. He faced two counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault.

The 70-year-old former movie executive pleaded not guilty and has said all of the encounters were consensual.

Jane Doe 1’s lawyer, Dave Ring, said in a statement, “No victim should have to endure what Jane Doe 1 did the past five years after she came forward. Weinstein and his lawyers did everything they could to intimidate her and discredit her, and they failed miserably. Jane Doe 1’s life has been incredibly difficult since she revealed the rape in 2017; but she persevered and brought Weinstein down. We are all very proud of her.”

In a separate statement, Jane Doe 1 said, in part, “Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night in 2013 and I will never get that back. The criminal trial was brutal and Weinstein’s lawyers put me through hell on the witness stand, but I knew I had to see this through to the end, and I did.”

“I hope Weinstein never sees the outside of a prison cell during his lifetime,” she added.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón thanked the survivors in a statement following the verdict, saying, in part, “I stand in awe of their fearlessness. They deserve better than what the system has given them.”

“I also want to thank the jurors for their service during this lengthy trial and for examining all of the evidence carefully,” he said. “I am of course disappointed that the jury was split on some of the counts, but hope its partial verdict brings at least some measure of justice to the victims.”

Weinstein initially faced 11 counts in the trial, but four charges relating to Jane Doe No. 5, including two counts of forcible rape and two counts of forcible oral copulation, were dropped by the prosecution.

The four women all testified during the trial, including Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Siebel Newsom was referred to as Jane Doe No. 4 during the trial, but she has been publicly identified by her lawyer.

Over more than two hours of testimony, beginning Nov. 10, Siebel Newsom often broke down recalling the 2005 encounter with Weinstein at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills in which she said she was raped. Siebel Newsom, then an aspiring actress and currently a documentary filmmaker, said she accepted an invitation to a meeting with the producer at his hotel suite because “you don’t say no to Harvey Weinstein.”

“I was so violated and I don’t know how that happened,” Siebel Newsom testified about how she felt after the incident. “I didn’t see the clues and I didn’t know how to escape.”

Prior to the trial, Seibel Newsom’s lawyer, Beth Fegan, said of her client’s testimony: “Like many other women, my client was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein at a purported business meeting that turned out to be a trap. She intends to testify at his trial in order to seek some measure of justice for survivors, and as part of her life’s work to improve the lives of women. Please respect her choice to not discuss this matter outside of the courtroom.”

The trial in Los Angeles came 2 1/2 years after Weinstein was found guilty of similar crimes in New York City, a landmark decision after the so-called #MeToo movement, in which powerful men were exposed for sexual misconduct, began largely around bombshell reports about the Miramax founder’s behavior in The New York Times and The New Yorker in fall 2017.

Weinstein’s lawyer, Mark Werksman, said in opening arguments during his LA trial that each allegation was a “weak and unsubstantiated trickle that will evaporate upon your close scrutiny.”

“The evidence in this case is based upon emotion, not facts,” Werksman said. “You will learn that the allegations can be traced directly to a movement called the #MeToo movement.”

Weinstein did not testify during the trial.

In his closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson said the witnesses testified “credibly,” even under intense cross-examination, and that the defense has the difficult task of arguing that every single woman who took the stand in the case is lying.

Defense attorney Alan Jackson told the jury in his closing argument that the evidence was “smoke and mirrors” and accused the women who testified of being “fame and fortune seekers.”

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