In a split verdict, Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty on three counts of rape and sexual assault by a Los Angeles jury that acquitted him of one other charge and was unable to unanimously reach a verdict on three other counts.
Monday’s verdict came following a four-weeks-long trial at a downtown Los Angeles courtroom which saw 49 witnesses and included wrenching testimony that ended with a 10-day deliberation by the jury. The 70-year-old former Hollywood heavyweight was charged with seven sex-related counts involving four women; two counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault. The alleged incidents all took place from 2005 to 2013 in hotel rooms in Los Angeles.
The jury, which was required to reach a unanimous decision on each count, found Weinstein guilty of rape, forced oral copulation and one other count involving an accuser known as Jane Doe #1. However, he was acquitted of sexual battery against an accuser known as Jane Doe #3, according to The Associated Press, which reports that the jury was unable to reach a verdict on charges involving Jane Doe #2 and the charges of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation from Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom; a mistrial was declared on those counts.
Siebel Newsom told the court in a tearful testimony in mid-November that she still lives with the trauma of being raped and sexually assaulted by Weinstein in a Beverly Hills hotel room 17 years ago.
Four women who were not those listed as victims in the case testified at the trial, telling the court that they were sexually assaulted by Weinstein. One accusor was a Russian model who gave three days of testimony regarding the alleged assault; a second accusor, who testified she had been hired to give the mogul a massage, told the jury that in 2010 Weinstein trapped her in a hotel bathroom and attacked her.
In addition to Siebel Newsom, the other accusers to identify themselves publicly are Lauren Young; Kelly Sipherd; Ambra Battilana Gutierrez; Natassia Malthe; and Ashley Matthau. More than 80 women have stepped forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault and misconduct over several decades. This onslaught of accusations came after The New York Times and New Yorker magazine published explosive stories in 2017 on the accusations. These pieces of reporting opened the door for the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein is already serving 23 years in prison after being convicted in New York of raping an aspiring actress and of a criminal sex act against a former production assistant. That conviction is set to be heard by the New York Court of Appeals.
Weinstein maintains his innocence of all accusations against him. At the L.A. trial, defense attorney Alan Jackson told the jury that the alleged victims lied on the stand. Their encounters with Weinstein were “consensual” or “transactional” sex, he claimed, saying, “Did one person come in here and say, ‘I said no to Harvey Weinstein and he screwed my career?’ Was there one? … Not one person said that because it’s a fable … It just isn’t true.”
Two of the alleged attacks involving Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 “simply never happened,” Jackson claimed, saying before the court that their accounts of being raped by Weinstein were “fictionalized” versions of events. Weinstein’s relationships with the other two accusers, including Siebel Newsom, were “100% consensual” and “transactional relationships,” he said.
In her closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez said Weinstein engaged in “despicable behavior” and ensured that these women knew he “could destroy them.”
Since July 2021, Weinstein has been held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility downtown. The former top producer now uses a wheelchair and reportedly is facing multiple medical issues.
City News Service contributed to this report
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