Harvey weinstein criminal rape case me too movement
Harvey Weinstein, the powerhouse film producer whose dramatic downfall over sexual misconduct ignited a global movement, was found guilty of a felony sex crime and rape after a trial in which six women testified that he had sexually assaulted them.
But the jury acquitted Weinstein of the two top charges against him, predatory sexual assault.
The verdict offered a measure of justice to the dozens of women who had come forward with similar allegations against Weinstein. For many, the trial was a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement and a crucial test in the effort to hold powerful men accountable for sexual harassment in the workplace.
Complaints about Weinstein, an Oscar-winning producer of films including “Shakespeare in Love,” had opened the floodgates in late 2017, as hundreds of thousands of women aired their own stories of harassment. Weinstein quickly became a symbol not just of the casting couch culture in Hollywood, but of the abuse women had endured for hundreds of years.
Six women testified at trial that he had sexually assaulted them, though Weinstein, 67, faced criminal charges in connection with only two of them. The others were allowed to testify to establish a pattern of behavior.
The indictment rested on the accusations of Miriam Haley, a former television production assistant who testified that Weinstein forced oral sex on her at his Manhattan apartment in 2006; and Jessica Mann, a former aspiring actress, who says he raped her in a midtown Manhattan hotel room in 2013.
Mann and Haley both acknowledged that they continued to see Weinstein after the alleged assaults and later had consensual sex with him, testimony that complicated the prosecution’s case.
Prosecutors described Weinstein as a clever predator who kept his victims close to control them, using his power over their careers in the film industry as leverage.
But defense lawyers said the women had sex with Weinstein willingly to further their careers and only years later, after he had been accused in news reports of sexual harassment, began to remember their encounters with him as nonconsensual.