Harvey Weinstein found guilty on 2 counts in sexual assault case

Kuzma/iStock(NEW YORK) — Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced former Hollywood producer, was found guilty of criminal sexual assault and of rape in the third degree in a New York court Monday. He was found not guilty of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault and of rape in the first degree.

Donna Rotunno and Damon Cheronis, Weinstein’s defense attorneys, said in a statement they will be filing an appeal, claiming there were “extremely troubling” “issues” with this trial.

The outcome is seen as a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement, which was spurred into mainstream awareness after allegations against Weinstein were first reported in October 2017 by The New York Times and The New Yorker.

The judge in the case remanded Weinstein, 67, into custody without bail against his attorneys’ request. Rotunno said in court Monday she was requesting “house arrest,” citing “letters from his doctor,” as he “was found not guilty of the most serious charges he was charged with.”

Weinstein had been using a walker throughout the trial, and Rotunno and Cheronis said in their statement they are working to have Weinstein brought to Rikers’ Island’s North Infirmary Unit at the Anna M. Kross Center complex “or in protective custody so that he can get the best medical supervision and care possible.”

The former producer may be sentenced by the judge on March 11.

One accuser, Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi, a former production assistant who had worked for Weinstein, claimed he assaulted her at his apartment in 2006. The jury found that Weinstein forced a sex act on Haleyi.

The charge of rape in the third degree came from Jessica Mann, who is now being named by ABC News as she told the district attorney’s office she does not object to being named publicly. That charge came with sentencing guidelines of probation up to four years.

Cy Vance, the district attorney of Manhattan, said at a press conference that the case — and the women who testified against Weinstein — “pulled our justice system into the 21st century.”

In 2015, Vance, as district attorney, chose to not arrest or prosecute Weinstein for a misdemeanor sex crime after another woman, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, worked with police to report her allegation that Weinstein groped her.

“Rape is rape whether it’s committed by a stranger in a dark alley or a domestic partner in a working relationship,” Vance said, adding that he owes “an immense debt” to the women who “had the courage beyond measure” to testify.

Weinstein was charged with raping one woman, now acknowledged as Mann, in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman, who has identified herself as Haleyi, in 2006. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and claimed any sexual encounters were consensual.

In addition to the two women behind those charges, four others testified in support of prosecutors’ efforts to demonstrate a pattern of sexual predation.

Prosecutors were attempting to convict him on two predatory sexual assault counts, both of which carried possible sentences of 10 years to life. Ronan Farrow, one of the journalists who reported on the extensive allegations against Weinstein, told Good Morning America in January that prosecutors were taking a “big risk” by seeking those charges.

“It is difficult this element of proving not only the charges at issue but also a course of conduct, a pattern — sets a very high goal. It’s atypical,” Farrow said, adding that it’s not a “slam-dunk” case. “More often, you’d see something like a prior conviction being the predicate that establishes the pattern. Here, they have to prove brand new additional fact patterns.”

Heading into Monday, the jurors had deliberated for 16 hours, including about four hours of testimony being read back.

The jury had indicated some trouble in coming to a decision, which included days of deliberation. On Friday, they had asked the judge if they could “be hung on [counts] 1 and or 3” — the predatory charges — “and unanimous on the other charges.”

In total, 28 witnesses were called in the trial.

“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,” the Silence Breakers, a group of people who have accused Weinstein of assaults, said in a statement Monday. “This conviction would not be possible without the testimony of the courageous women and the many women who have spoken out.”

Me Too, a movement founded in 2006, said in a statement, “We would do well to ask ourselves how many of these women’s names we can actually remember, beyond the boldface few? Certainly, Harvey’s name will be seared in our collective memories, but many of the survivors will be quietly taking stock of the impact.”

If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault and is seeking resources, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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