(AP) — After a month-long trial and nine days of deliberations, Los Angeles jurors on Monday found Harvey Weinstein guilty of the rape and sexual assault of just one of the four accusers he was charged with abusing.
But the three guilty counts involving an Italian actor and model known at the trial as Jane Doe 1 still struck a major blow against the disgraced movie mogul, and provided another #MeToo moment of reckoning, five years after he became a magnet for the movement.
Weinstein, 70, who is two years into a 23-year sentence for a rape and sexual assault conviction in New York that is under appeal, could get up to 24 years in prison in California when he’s sentenced.
He was found guilty of rape, forced oral copulation and another sexual misconduct count involving the woman who said he appeared uninvited at her hotel room door during a Los Angeles film festival in 2013.
Weinstein was acquitted of a sexual battery allegation made by a massage therapist who treated him at a hotel in 2010.
The jury was unable to reach a decision on counts involving two accusers, notably rape and sexual assault charges involving Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom. A mistrial was declared on those counts.
Weinstein looked down at the table and appeared to put his face in his hands when the initial guilty counts were read. He looked forward as the rest of the verdict was read.
“Harvey is obviously disappointed in the verdict. He knows what happened and what never did,” Weinstein’s spokesperson Juda Engelmayer said in an email, saying there was a strong basis for an appeal on the convictions. “Harvey is grateful for the jury’s work on the other counts, and he’s determined to continue his legal challenges in ultimately proving his innocence.”
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón applauded the accusers for their bravery to testify in the case, saying in a statement he was disappointed by the split verdict but hoped it brings “some measure of justice to the victims.”
Jurors were deadlocked 10-2 on a sexual battery count involving Lauren Young, the only accuser who testified at both Weinstein trials. She said she was a model aspiring to be an actor and screenwriter who was meeting with Weinstein about a script in 2013 when he trapped her in a hotel bathroom, groped her and masturbated in front of her.
Lacking any forensic evidence or eyewitness accounts of years-old allegations, the case hinged heavily on the stories and credibility of the four women at the center of the charges.
The women’s stories echoed the allegations of dozens of others who have emerged since Weinstein became a #MeToo lightning rod starting with stories in the New York Times in 2017. A movie about that reporting, “She Said,” was released during the trial, and jurors were repeatedly warned not to see it.
It was the defense that made #MeToo an issue during the trial, however, emphasising that none of the four women went to the authorities until after the movement made Weinstein a target.
Weinstein beat four other felony charges before the trial even ended when prosecutors said a woman he was charged with raping twice and sexually assaulting twice would not appear to testify. They declined to give a reason. Judge Lisa Lench dismissed those charges.
Weinstein’s latest conviction hands a victory to victims of sexual misconduct of famous men in the wake of some legal setbacks, including the dismissal of Bill Cosby’s conviction last year. The rape trial of “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson, held simultaneously and just down the hall from Weinstein’s, ended in a mistrial. And actor Kevin Spacey was victorious at a sexual battery civil trial in New York last month.
Weinstein’s New York conviction survived an initial appeal, but the case is set to be heard by the state’s highest court next year. The California conviction, also likely to be appealed, means he will not walk free even if the East Coast conviction is thrown out.