Harvey Weinstein found guilty of raping woman by Los Angeles jury

Jurors unable to reach verdicts on several charges of attacks on other women

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Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape on Monday, in another #MeToo moment of reckoning, five years after he became a main target of the movement.

After deliberating for nine days, the jury of eight men and four women in Los Angeles reached the verdict at the second criminal trial of the powerful former film producer, 70, who is two years into a 23-year sentence for a rape and sexual assault conviction in New York.

Weinstein was found guilty of rape and two other sexual assault charges involving a woman known as Jane Doe 1.

The jury was hung on several counts, notably charges involving Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

It reported it was unable to reach verdicts in her allegations and those of another woman. A mistrial was declared on those counts.

He was also acquitted of a sexual battery allegation made by another woman.

“It is time for the defendant’s reign of terror to end,” Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez said in the prosecution’s closing argument last week. “It is time for the kingmaker to be brought to justice.”

Lacking any forensic evidence or eyewitness accounts of assaults Weinstein’s accusers said happened between 2005 and 2013, the case hinged heavily on the stories and credibility of the four women at the centre of the charges.

The accusers included Ms Newsom, a documentary filmmaker.

Her intense and emotional testimony of being raped by Weinstein in a hotel room in 2005 brought the trial its most dramatic moments.

Another was an Italian model and actor who said Weinstein appeared uninvited at her hotel room door during a 2013 film festival and raped her.

Lauren Young, the only accuser who testified at both Weinstein trials, said she was a model aspiring to be an actor and screenwriter who was meeting with Weinstein about a script in 2013 when he trapped her in a hotel bathroom, groped her and committed a sex act in front of her.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the charges involving Ms Young.

A massage therapist testified that Weinstein did the same to her after a massage in 2010.

Ms Martinez said in her closing that the women entered Weinstein’s hotel suites or let him into their rooms, with no idea of what awaited them.

“Who would suspect that such an entertainment industry titan would be a degenerate rapist?” she said.

The women’s stories echoed the allegations of dozens of others who have emerged since Weinstein became a #MeToo target, starting with stories in The New York Times in 2017.

A movie about that reporting, She Said, was released during the trial, and jurors were repeatedly warned not to see it.

It was the defence that made #MeToo an issue during the trial, emphasising that none of the four women went to the authorities until after the movement made Weinstein a target.

Defence lawyers said two of the women were entirely lying about their encounters with Weinstein, and that the other two had “100 per cent consensual” sexual interactions that they later reframed.

Weinstein’s New York conviction survived an initial appeal, but the case is set to be heard by the state’s highest court next year.

The California conviction, also likely to be appealed against, means he will not walk free even if the East Coast conviction is thrown out.

Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: December 20, 2022, 8:56 AM