December 4, 2023

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Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty of Rape in L.A. Trial – Billboard

Harvey Weinstein on Monday (Dec. 19) was found guilty of rape in a Los Angeles trial. The conviction further cements his plunge from one of the most influential producers in Hollywood to the face of the #MeToo movement.

But the jury acquitted Weinstein of sexual battery by restraint against a different Jane Doe accuser.

Jurors also couldn’t reach a decision on three sexual assault charges, including rape.

This trial centered on testimony from four women, all known as Jane Does in court, who accused Weinstein of raping or sexually assaulting them from 2004 to 2013. Four others also testified that they were assaulted, though their claims didn’t lead to charges. In total, prosecutors called 44 witnesses to the stand to make their case against the former movie mogul.

Weinstein faced two counts of rape and five counts of other types of sexual assault. He pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year sentence following his conviction by a New York jury in Feb. 2020 of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree and third-degree rape. He appealed the sentence, but it was affirmed by an appeals court in June.

The jury found Weinstein guilty of three counts — forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and penetration by foreign object — against Jane Doe 1. He was acquitted of sexual battery by restraint against Jane Doe 3. The jury couldn’t reach a decision on the charges Weinstein faced of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation against Jane Doe 4 and sexual battery by restraint against Jane Doe 2.

Jurors started deliberating on Dec. 2. It reached a verdict on the 10th day of deliberations, after roughly 41 hours considering the case.

“I have been advised by my bailiff that you have reached verdicts on certain counts but have not been able to reach them on others,” said Los Angeles Superior Court Lisa Lench.

The judge asked jurors if further arguments or read back of testimony can help them reach a decision on the deadlocked charges.

“I believe we will be unable to reach a verdict,” responded a juror.

The jury will return on Tuesday to hear arguments on aggravating factors. Weinstein currently faces a maximum of 18 years in prison, which could become 24 years depending on how the jury decides on those factors.

Weinstein sat at end of the defense table with his lawyers Mark Werksman and Alan Jackson after the jury walked into the ninth floor courtroom of the Clara Shortridge Foltz courthouse in downtown Los Angeles to announce that it had reached a verdict. He looked down and folded his hands as the first guilty verdict was read.

Werksman, Jackson and Deputy District attorney Paul Thompson, who led the prosecution, declined to comment.

The verdict comes on the heels of a host of other decisions in cases with #MeToo implications. Across the hall of the downtown Los Angeles courtroom in which Weinstein’s trial unfolded, a judge declared a mistrial on Nov. 30 in actor Danny Masterson’s rape case after the jury said it was “hopelessly deadlocked.” In New York, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis was ordered to pay $10 million to a woman who accused him of rape, while actor Kevin Spacey beat a sexual misconduct suit brought by Anthony Rapp, who alleged sexual abuse when he was 14.

Weinstein, who reigned as one of Hollywood’s most influential producers, didn’t testify. The defense primarily focused on poking holes in the testimony of the eight accusers — four Jane Does and four named witnesses whose accusations didn’t lead to charges.

Werksman said Jane Does No. 1 and 2 lied about their accusations, while Jane Does No. 3 and 4 had “transactional sex” with Weinstein to advance their careers.

“Take my word for it — five words that sum up the entirety of the prosecution’s case,” said Alan Jackson, also representing Weinstein, in closing arguments on Dec. 1.

Jane Doe No. 1 — a model and actress — testified that she was raped in a hotel room in February 2013. After demanding to be let in, she alleges that Weinstein started to masturbate before forcing her to perform oral sex and raping her. She reported the incident to law enforcement in 2017.

The Hollywood Reporter doesn’t typically name people who say they were sexually assaulted unless they voluntarily come forward. Several of the women who testified against Weinstein have disclosed that they were assaulted.

Among them is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who was a relatively unknown actress when she met Weinstein at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2005 before marrying Gov. Gavin Newsom. She testified that she was raped in a meeting Weinstein set up to discuss her career, bursting into tears when asked to identify the disgraced movie mogul. “He’s wearing a suit and a blue tie, and he’s staring at me,” she said from the witness stand.

Prosecutors detailed a “recorded pattern” among the assaults of Weinstein luring his accusers into an isolated hotel room under the guise of professional meetings.

The accusations against Weinstein date to a time when he was at the apex of his powers in Hollywood. Over 40 years in the industry, he played a part in launching the careers of countless A-listers and award winners.

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.

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