After a dramatic trial that spanned several months, a New York City jury of five men and seven women has found movie mogul Harvey Weinstein guilty of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. Weinstein was acquitted on three other charges of first degree rape and predatory sexual assault, but will head immediately to jail to await his sentencing on March 11. In 2017, revelations about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct fanned the flames of a global movement, with thousands of stories of harassment and abuse pouring forth from women around the world. Here’s everything you need to know about the blockbuster case so far—and what to expect next.
What was Weinstein charged with?
Weinstein was arrested and indicted in May 2018 on charges of rape and criminal sexual acts. The rape charge was connected to an alleged 2013 assault on Jessica Mann, a former aspiring actress, while the criminal sexual act involved Lucia Evans, a marketing executive who told investigators that Weinstein forced oral sex on her during a casting meeting in 2004. In July 2018, prosecutors added additional charges of predatory sexual assault to the existing indictment, involving a 2006 instance of forced oral sex with an unnamed woman, who was later identified as Miriam Haley, a former production assistant on Project Runway. In October 2018, the charge connected to Evans was dismissed when a witness cast doubt on Evans’ accusations.
In the years since The New York Times first published allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein in 2017, more than 80 women, many of them prominent actresses, have come forward with claims that they were sexually victimized by Weinstein. Six women testified at the trial that Weinstein had sexually assaulted them, though Weinstein was only charged in relation to two of those instances, as the others occurred outside the jurisdiction or time frame necessary to bring charges in New York.
What was the verdict?
Weinstein was convicted of rape in the third degree and a felony sex crime, classified as a criminal sexual act in the first degree. In the state of New York, in the third degree is defined as sexual intercourse with a person incapable of consent, sexual intercourse with a minor, and/or sexual intercourse without consent wherein the lack of consent does not relate to incapacitation. Criminal sexual acts in the first degree are defined as oral or anal sexual conduct by forcible compulsion or with an individual who is physically helpless or less than thirteen years old.
Weinstein was acquitted of more serious charges of first-degree rape and two charges of predatory sexual assault, which could have jailed him for life. As the New York Times reported about the acquitted charges:
Jurors also had to consider the testimony of the actress Annabella Sciorra, who claimed Mr. Weinstein had raped her in the early 1990s, in deciding whether he was a sexual predator. Three other women were allowed give their accounts of alleged assaults to establish a pattern of behavior, but Mr. Weinstein was not charged in those incidents.
But the jury found him not guilty on the two counts of predatory sexual assault, suggesting that the jurors did not believe Ms. Sciorra’s allegation.
What will Weinstein’s sentence be?
According to RAINN, rape in the third degree carries a sentence of 1.5 to 4 years in prison, while criminal sexual acts in the first degree carry a sentence of 5 to 25 years in prison. Weinstein’s punishment remains unclear, but will be publicized after his sentencing on March 11. Legal experts anticipate that he faces up to 25 years in prison.
Are there other legal proceedings still pending against Weinstein?
In January 2020, Weinstein was charged in Los Angeles with raping one woman and groping and masturbating in front of another, both in the span of two days in 2013. Weinstein has been charged with one count per victim of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint. Weinstein must sit a second trial in Los Angeles, facing up to 28 years in prison if convicted. Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lead defense attorney, said after the verdict that “We’ll absolutely be appealing. The fight is not over.”