Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sexual assault and rape by a New York jury on Monday and handcuffed in court, a milestone verdict for the #MeToo movement that inspired women to go public with misconduct allegations against powerful men.
Harvey Weinstein, once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, was found guilty of sexual assault and rape on Monday, and faces up to 25 years in prison – though he was acquitted of the most serious charges against him.
In what is a milestone for the #MeToo movement, a Manhattan jury of seven men and five women convicted Weinstein of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping Jessica Mann, a onetime aspiring actress, in 2013.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. said the verdict marked “a new day” for survivors of sexual assault.
(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY CYRUS VANCE, SAYING: “It’s a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for crimes he committed.
Weinstein is a vicious, serial sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault, trick, humiliate and silence his victims.” During the trial, the prosecution elicited graphic testimony from several accusers, including Haleyi, who said Weinstein invited her to his SoHo home, backed her into a bedroom, held her down on the bed and forced himself on her orally.
Mann said that soon after meeting Weinstein she entered into an "extremely degrading" relationship with him that never included intercourse until, she alleged, he raped her in 2013.
She described Weinstein as a "Jekyll and Hyde" character: Charming in public but often showing terrifying anger when they were alone.
Prosecutors tried to prove he was a repeat sexual offender by calling "Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra as a witness, who told jurors Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s.
But the jury acquitted the 67-year-old of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault.
Still, Defense attorney Arthur Aidala vowed his team would appeal the conviction.
(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) WEINSTEIN DEFENSE ATTORNEY ARTHUR AIDALA, SAYING: "It's ridiculous that there's been such a crosshairs on his back.
He's gonna get the best and brightest in America to work on his appeal.
There are so many appellate issues here." The verdicts were the culmination of a long, sordid slide for a man once heralded for having the Midas touch when it came to winning Oscar gold, and who wielded influence whether alongside Oprah Winfrey... or as a White House guest.
But his public image began to shatter in October of 2017 when media reports in The New York Times and The New Yorker painted him as a sexual predator - with several actresses stepping forward with personal stories of his alleged abuse and harassment.
Among them, Ashley Judd, Roseanna Arquette and Gwyneth Paltrow - who took home one of several Oscars for the Weinstein-produced film "Shakespeare in Love." In all, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct since 2017 – their claims sparking the #MeToo movement, an unprecedented societal reckoning in which women around the world stepped forward to accuse men in a variety of fields of sexual abuse.
Weinstein was taken into custody immediately after Monday's verdict.
He will be sentenced next month.
He also faces sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, and dozens of women have filed civil law suits against him.