Disgraced former Hollywood filmmaker Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of third-degree rape and criminal sex act but has been acquitted on the most serious charges brought against him in the most high-profile case of the #MeToo movement.
The monthslong trial officially came to a close Monday when a jury of seven men and five women read the verdict after five days of deliberation, sealing Weinstein’s fate.
Weinstein, 67, was convicted on a count of criminal sex act against Mimi Haley, a former “Project Runway” production assistant, in 2006, and raping former aspiring actress Jessica Mann in a New York City hotel room in 2013, the Associated Press reported. The two convictions could land Weinstein in prison for as many as 29 years.
The jury found him not guilty on the most serious charges, however, which were two counts of predatory sexual assault, and one count of first-degree rape against Jessica Mann. The two predatory sexual assault charges each carried a life sentence.
NBC News reported that Weinstein “showed no emotion” as the verdict was read.
District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said the guilty charges signaled “a new day” for survivors of sexual assault in America.
“It is a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for crimes he committed,” he added. “Weinstein is a vicious, serial sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault and trick, humiliate and silence his victims.”
Weinstein maintained his innocence throughout the trial and pleaded not guilty on all five counts. Late last year, he even insisted that he should be credited for helping women achieve success in Hollywood.
“As sure as I’m a bald man, we will be appealing,” Weinstein’s defense attorney, Arthur Aidala, said.
The guilty verdict is seen as a reckoning for Weinstein and a win for the #MeToo movement, which encourages victims of sexual harassment to publicly speak out against powerful offenders who use their power and influence to harm others.
In all, more than 80 women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein since October 2017, when a bombshell report by investigative journalist Ronan Farrow made the “open secret” of Weinstein’s history of abuse public.
Weinstein was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs and is scheduled to be sentenced March 11.