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Former film producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted Monday of raping a woman in the Los Angeles area in 2013, but jurors acquitted him of a felony charge involving a second alleged victim and were unable to reach verdicts on a lesser charge involving that woman along with charges relating to two other women.
Jurors deliberated for roughly 41 hours over about 10 days before finding Weinstein, 70, guilty of three of the seven counts he was facing — forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by a foreign object. All three of those counts related to a former model-actress who was referred to only as Jane Doe #1, with the crimes occurring on or about Feb. 18, 2013.
The eight-man, four-woman jury acquitted him of a felony charge of sexual battery by restraint involving an alleged attack on another woman — Jane Doe #3 — in 2010. Jurors deadlocked on a lesser charge involving that woman.
Meanwhile, the panel was unable to reach verdicts on a charge of sexual battery by restraint involving an alleged attack in February 2013 against Jane Doe #2 and counts of forcible oral copulation and forcible rape involving an alleged attack against Jane Doe #4 in 2005.
Jane Doe #4 was publicly identified by her attorney as Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench declared a mistrial on the counts on which the jury could not reach a verdict. Jurors indicated they were split in favor of conviction — 10-2 on two of the charges and 8-4 on the other two counts.
Attorneys are due back in court Tuesday morning to deliver arguments on aggravating factors in the case.
Weinstein faces up to 18 years in prison for the counts on which he was convicted, although that total could be lifted to 24 years if the jury finds true the aggravating factors that he carried out the crimes in a manner that “indicates planning sophistication and professionalism,” that he “took advantage of a position of trust and confidence” and that the victim was “particularly vulnerable.”
“Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night in 2013 and I will never get that back,” Jane Doe #1 said in a statement released by her attorney, Dave Ring, shortly after the verdict. “The criminal trial was brutal and Weinstein’s lawyers put me through hell on the witness stand, but I knew I had to see this through to the end, and I did … I hope Weinstein never sees the outside of a prison cell during his lifetime.”
The woman, who was the prosecution’s first witness, broke down in tears as she discussed the attack by Weinstein, from whom she said she had received an unsolicited visit purportedly to talk with her in a hotel room.
“I was hysterical through tears,” she testified. “I say, `Stop.’ I say, `No’ … I wanted to die. It was disgusting. It was humiliating, miserable.”
Los Angeles County District Attorney George GascÃ³n said in a statement that “our team will meet to determine whether or not we intend to retry the counts that were hung.”
The county’s top prosecutor said he wanted to “thank the survivors in this case, who exhibited extraordinary bravery in a case that put them in the national spotlight.”
Attorney Gloria Allred said her client — referred to in court as Jane Doe #2 and by Allred as Lauren Young — would be willing to testify again.
In a statement read by her attorney, Young said she was “relieved that Harvey Weinstein has been convicted because he deserves to be punished” for the crimes he committed, adding that she can “finally put this traumatic memory to rest.”
Jurors twice heard read-backs of testimony from the trial — most recently on Monday morning. The jury was originally handed the case on Dec. 2, and it submitted at least one question to the judge during its deliberations, although the contents of the query have not been revealed.
Prosecutors argued during the trial that the Oscar-winning Weinstein used his position as one of Hollywood’s most successful movie producers to gain access to and sexually assault women. Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson told jurors at the start of the case that Weinstein and his brother, Bob, created Miramax Films, which produced a number of “iconic and award-winning films” including “Pulp Fiction,” “The English Patient,” “Good Will Hunting” and “Shakespeare In Love,” among others. The movies launched the careers of Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow and Quentin Tarantino, Thompson said.
Weinstein won an Oscar as a producer of best-picture winner “Shakespeare in Love.”
Weinstein — who Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez had earlier called a “titan of the film industry” — engaged in “despicable behavior” and made sure that the alleged victims knew he “could destroy them,” the prosecutor said in her closing argument. Martinez told jurors that Weinstein used his power to prey on and silence women. She called him a “predator,” and said none of the women making accusations against Weinstein knew each other.
But defense attorney Alan Jackson told the jury that the entirety of the prosecution’s case could be summed up with five words — “Take my word for it” — and said the alleged victims lied on the stand about what was actually “consensual” or “transactional” sex with the now-disgraced filmmaker.
“Did one person come in here and say, `I said no to Harvey Weinstein and he screwed my career?’ Was there one? … Not one person said that because it’s a fable … It just isn’t true,” Jackson said.
The producer did not testify in his own defense.
Prosecutors opted not to proceed with four criminal counts — two counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation — involving Jane Doe #5, who had not been mentioned in the prosecution’s opening statement but was one of the charged victims in the indictment against Weinstein.
Allred, who represented Jane Doe #5, declined to explain why that woman did not testify during the trial. But she said the woman wants to give a statement at Weinstein’s sentencing if allowed by the judge.
During the trial, jurors also heard from four other women who were allegedly sexually assaulted by Weinstein, but are not listed as charged victims in the case.
Siebel Newsom — a documentary filmmaker — told jurors in her testimony that she still lives with the trauma of being raped and sexually assaulted by Weinstein in his suite at The Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel in September 2005.
In a statement issued after the verdicts were announced, Siebel Newsom said, “Harvey Weinstein will never be able to rape another woman. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars where he belongs. Harvey Weinstein is a serial predator and what he did was rape. Throughout the trial, Weinstein’s lawyers used sexism, misogyny and bullying tactics to intimidate, demean and ridicule us survivors. This trial was a stark reminder that we as a society have work to do. To all survivors out there — I see you, I hear you, and I stand with you.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement praising his wife “and all the brave women who came forward to share their truth and uplift countless survivors who cannot. Their strength, courage and conviction is a powerful example and inspiration to all of us. We must keep fighting to ensure that survivors are supported and that their voices are heard.”
Weinstein was previously convicted in New York of raping an aspiring actress and of a criminal sex act against a former production assistant. That state’s highest court has since agreed to hear his appeal involving that case.
Harvey Weinstein Convicted of 1 Los Angeles Rape, Acquitted of Another – MyNewsLA.com
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