Harvey Weinstein accuser Rosanna Arquette hails courage of women who helped convict him of rape

'We will change the laws in the future so that rape victims are heard and not discredited and so that it's easier for people to report their rapes'

Phil Thomas
New York
Monday 24 February 2020 18:27 GMT
Harvey Weinstein arrives at courthouse on Monday before trial reaches verdict

The actress Rosanna Arquette, one of the most outspoken accusers of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, has welcomed his conviction of two counts of sexual assault, saying it signals an opportunity to make life less traumatic for rape victims.

She tweeted: "Gratitude to the brave women who've testified and to the jury for seeing through the dirty tactics of the defense.

"We will change the laws in the future so that rape victims are heard and not discredited and so that it's easier for people to report their rapes."

Weinstein was convicted on Monday on one count of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. He could be jailed for up to 25 years.

However, he was found not guilty of predatory sexual assault, the most series crime he had been charged with.

The producer – one of the most influential people in Hollywood until his stunning fall from grace – looked resigned as the verdicts were read out, according to Associated Press reporters in the courtroom.

The judge ordered him to be handcuffed and held in custody until his sentencing.

Arquette was one of the first people to share allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein.

In October 2017, she was quoted in the New Yorker as part of an extensive investigation by Ronan Farrow, alleging that during a meeting in the early 1990s, Weinstein asked her for a massage, pulled her hand towards his crotch and, when she stopped the interaction, told her she was making a mistake. Arquette alleges that her career was derailed after the incident.

As Weinstein's trial began in New York in January, Arquette appeared at a news conference outside the Manhattan court with other accusers, including the actress Rose McGowan. She said: "As we stand here at the beginning of a new year and a new decade, time's up on sexual harassment in all workplaces. And time's up on the pervasive culture of silence that has enabled abusers like Weinstein."

Arquette appeared in films including Pulp Fiction, one of Weinstein's breakout movies as producer.

Weinstein will be sentenced on 11 March. He still faces charges of sexual assault in California.

Farrow, whose investigative reporting is credited with helping to uncover allegations against Weinstein, also paid tribute to the women who have come forward to tell their stories.

He tweeted: "Today's outcome in Harvey Weinstein's New York trial is the result of the decisions of multiple women to come forward to journalists and to prosecutors at great personal cost and risk. Please keep those women in your thoughts today."

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