NYC jury convicts Weinstein of 1st-degree assault, 3rd-degree rape

Harvey Weinstein. Wikimedia Commons/George Biard

Feb. 24 (UPI) — A New York City jury on Monday found disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein guilty on lesser charges of rape and sexual assault, but acquitted him on more serious counts of predatory assault.

The Academy Award-winning producer had been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women but charged in the cases of two.

Weinstein, 67, was found guilty of third-degree rape in the case of Jessica Mann and first-degree sexual assault in the case of Mimi Haley. The jury acquitted him on the two more serious counts.

Jurors first told New York Supreme Court Judge James Burke Friday they were hung on the two predatory counts, but were told to keep working.

Weinstein will remain in custody until he is sentenced on March 11.

The accusations against Weinstein spurred the #MeToo movement in 2017, in which women and men spoke about incidents of sexual misconduct against powerful figures.

Weinstein did not testify at his trial, but his attorneys argued that his encounters were consensual and none of the women were forced into sexual situations. They argued that Weinstein had exchanged friendly communications with them after the incidents in question.

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Weinstein still faces additional criminal charges in California, where prosecutors accuse him of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in 2013. One of the women testified during the New York trail as a supporting witness.

Shaunna Thomas, executive director of the support group UltraViolet, said although the verdict sends a “clear message” that abusers can be held accountable, more must be done to protect victims.

“While the evidence against Weinstein was overwhelming, today’s verdict was not guaranteed,” she said in a statement. “Survivors of sexual abuse often face tremendous obstacles in the legal system that block them from winning the justice they deserve. We must do better to ensure that survivors are not only protected under the law, but empowered to pursue a path toward justice.”

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