Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act in his sexual assault trial in Manhattan, New York City.
The disgraced 67-year-old movie mogul was found guilty on the two counts by a jury on Monday morning (24.02.20) after over four days of deliberations in the case.
Weinstein went on trial in January, tried for five counts pertaining to sexual assault, including two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of rape and one count of criminal sex act.
The jury, comprised of seven men and five women, found the disgraced producer guilty on two of the five counts on the fifth day of deliberations.
Weinstein was found not guilty on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault, which could have led the Hollywood producer receiving a life sentence.
The charges of which he was found guilty were in relation to allegations made by two women.
Weinstein had been accused of raping one woman in a New York hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman in 2006.
In her closing statement, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi had branded Weinstein an ”abusive rapist” and a ”predator”, adding: ”When Harvey Weinstein met the witnesses, he looked quite different than he does today. ‘They were scared. They felt isolated and they were alone.”
In her closing statement, Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s attorney, challenged the jurors to have the ”courage” to ”make the right decision, no matter how unpopular you might be when you get back to work or your home”.
Rotunno also claimed the prosecutors had created an ”alternate universe” where ”women are not responsible for the parties they attend, the men they flirt with, the choices they make to further their own careers, the hotel room invitations and the plane tickets they accept”.
She added: ”In this script, the powerful man is the villain, and he’s so powerful and large that no woman would want to sleep with him.”
The verdict is considered to be a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement which was sparked by the expose published about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct by The New York Times in October 2017.
The shocking investigation detailed decades of alleged sexual harassment and misconduct committed by Weinstein, with accounts from actresses such as Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd.
Following the initial report numerous women, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Asia Argento, Cara Delevingne and Rosanna Arquette, came forward with their own allegations of harassment against Weinstein.