Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein guilty of sexual assault

Reuters
Harvey Weinstein guilty of sexual assault

HARVEY. In this file photo, Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, California, USA

Etienne Laurent/Pool via Reuters

(1st UPDATE) The jury finds Harvey Weinstein guilty of rape, forcible oral copulation, and sexual penetration by a foreign object

LOS ANGELES, United States (1st UPDATE) – Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of sexual assault in a trial in Los Angeles on Monday, December 19, the second conviction for the one-time Hollywood kingmaker who became the face of #MeToo sexual abuse allegations five years ago, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

The jury found Weinstein guilty of rape, forcible oral copulation and, sexual penetration by a foreign object involving one woman, but acquitted him of charges relating to a second alleged victim.

The jury could not reach a verdict on two allegations, including rape, by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who was known as Jane Doe 4 in the trial. The jury did not reach a verdict on charges relating to one other woman.

Weinstein, 70, already is serving a 23-year prison sentence after being convicted of sexual misconduct in New York.

Elizabeth Fegan, Siebel Newsom’s attorney, said in a statement: “My client, Jane Doe 4, shared her story not with an expectation to testify but to support all the survivors who bravely came forward.”

“While we are heartened that the jury found Weinstein guilty on some of the counts, we are disappointed that the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on Jane Doe 4,” Fegan added.

“She will continue to fight for all women and all survivors of abuse against a system that permits the victim to be shamed and re-traumatized in the name of justice.”

In Los Angeles, Weinstein faced seven counts of rape and sexual assault from four women for encounters between 2004 and 2013.

During five weeks of testimony in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusers including documentary filmmaker Siebel Newsom said Weinstein lured them to what they believed were business meetings.

Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench declared a mistrial on the counts where the jury could not reach a verdict, including the allegations made by Siebel Newsom.

The women had alleged during often-graphic testimony that the powerful producer of “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love” masturbated in front of them and groped or raped them.

Siebel Newsom and three other women offered testimony that provided the basis for the two counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault that Weinstein faced.

Four additional women offered similar stories to buttress the prosecution’s arguments that Weinstein routinely abused his position as a Hollywood power player to prey on women.

They said he promised help with securing an audition or a book deal, and then arranged meetings where staff disappeared and left them alone with him.

Weinstein had said all of his sexual encounters were consensual and had pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorneys argued that the women willingly had sex with Weinstein because they believed he would help their careers, part of what they said was a widespread “casting couch” culture in the film industry. In two of the cases, they said the sexual contact was fabricated.

They also highlighted that some of the accusers, including Siebel Newsom, kept in contact with Weinstein, which they argued did not make sense if he had attacked them.

Siebel Newsom attended a pre-Oscars party hosted by Weinstein with her husband, and sent Weinstein dozens of friendly emails over the years.

Weinstein was convicted of sexual misconduct in New York in February 2020. He was extradited from New York to a Los Angeles prison in July 2021.

In New York, Weinstein is appealing his conviction and prison sentence.

Allegations against Weinstein helped fuel the #MeToo movement of women speaking out against sexual harassment and abuse by powerful men in media, politics, and other industries. – Rappler.com

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