The disgraced movie mogul is already serving a 23-year prison sentence for separate sexual assault charges.
Harvey Weinstein was back in a Los Angeles court again on Monday, facing seven sexual assault charges — including rape. Jurors, who deliberated for 41 hours over the span of 10 days following weeks of testimony by survivors, found the disgraced movie mogul guilty of three of those seven charges, all of which he had pleaded not guilty to. Weinstein now faces up to 24 years in prison for this particular conviction alone.
The three charges include rape, sexual penetration by foreign object, and forcible oral copulation, and were all tied to one of Weinstein’s accusers, a model and actress who testified he had assaulted her in a Beverly Hills hotel room in February 2013. The four charges that did not lead to a conviction included two separate counts of sexual battery by restraint, one count of forcible oral copulation, and one count of rape.
“Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night in 2013. I will never get that back,” Jane Doe 1, as the model-actress is referred to in court documents, said in a statement released through her attorney. “The criminal trial was brutal. Weinstein’s lawyers put me through hell on the witness stand. But I knew I had to see this through the end, and I did… I hope Harvey Weinstein never sees the outside of a prison cell during his lifetime.”
In her closing argument, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez summed up how untouchable Weinstein had been prior to the #MeToo movement. “The truth is that, as you sit here, we know the despicable behavior the defendant engaged in. He thought he was so powerful that people would … excuse his behavior,” Martinez told the jurors. “That’s just Harvey being Harvey. That’s just Hollywood. And for so long that’s what everyone did. Everyone just turned their heads.” In fact, Weinstein’s long avoidance of accountability was the subject of a 2019 Hulu documentary, Untouchable.
Weinstein’s spokesperson, Juda Engelmayer, indicated in a statement that his team may appeal the ruling, stating there’s “good ground” to do so. “He is grateful the jury took their time to deliberate on the other counts and he is prepared to continue fighting for his innocence,” Engelmayer said, according to CNN.
Weinstein is currently already serving a 23-year prison sentence at the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo after a 2020 trial that found him guilty of criminal sex act and third-degree rape. And his days in court aren’t over: Weinstein also faces two charges of “indecent assault” in the U.K.
I believe women, and my heart aches for those survivors whose first-hand accounts of sexual assault at the hands of Weinstein have not garnered guilty verdicts. Nonetheless, I choose to view the guilty verdict as a win, not only because justice was served, but because it’s a step forward in terms of holding abusers accountable — something that would not have been the case a mere few years ago.