Harvey Weinstein Photo: Georges Biard
Cheers were heard outside the courthouse in Manhattan today as Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty on charges of third degree rape and first degree criminal sexual assault. He was acquitted on an additional charge of predatory sexual assault, which carries a higher sentence, apparently because some jurors were unconvinced by the testimony delivered by Annabella Sciorra, who was unable to bring rape charges directly because of the statute of limitations.
Looking dazed after the result was read out, Weinstein was handcuffed and taken to prison, and is to be sentenced at a later date. He is facing a maximum sentence of 25 years but could end up spending longer in prison if he is convicted on charges of rape and sexual battery, both of which he denies, in a case pending in Los Angeles.
At least 80 different women have made verbal accusations of rape or sexual assault against Weinstein, although it seems unlikely that many of these will come to court and some refer to incidents which took place too long ago to be considered by the courts at this stage. He has maintained throughout that these incidents were either fictitious or involved consensual sexual activity, potentially motivated by the women's desire to advance their careers, which they subsequently regretted.
"Today’s outcome in Harvey Weinstein’s New York trial is the result of the decisions of multiple women to come forward to journalists and to prosecutors at great personal cost and risk. Please keep those women in your thoughts today," said Ronan Farrow, one of the key journalists involved in breaking the story, in response to the Manhattan court verdict.
Several civil complaints against Weinstein are ongoing.