Harvey Weinstein rushed to hospital as he is found guilty of rape and sexual assault

Former movie mogul faces up to 25 years in prison. He was rushed to hospital after the verdict and pleaded he was innocent

Clémence Michallon
New York
Monday 24 February 2020 17:38
Harvey Weinstein guilty of sexual assault and third-degree rape

Harvey Weinstein proclaimed his innocence even as he was found guilty of rape and sexual assault before being rushed to hospital as the landmark trial came to an end.

The former movie mogul was convicted on Monday of sexual assault and third-degree rape, but he was acquitted on more serious counts of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape.

Weinstein was convicted of forcibly performing oral sex on Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and of the third-degree rape of another woman in 2013. He now faces up to 29 years in jail.

The judge ordered him into custody immediately ahead of sentencing on 11 March. Court officers surrounded Weinstein, handcuffed him and led him out of the courtroom. He reportedly protested his innocence, demanding: 'How can this happen in America?'.

He was loaded into an ambulanace headed for notorious Rikers Island jail but the vehicle was rerouted - reportedly because Weinstein, who is in ill-health from back surgery, started having chest pains. His lawyer Donna Rotunno told NBCNews on Monday night that Weinstein was being monitored for chest pain and high blood pressure.

The seven men and five women tasked with ruling the studio giant’s fate had deliberated for five days before reaching a decision.

Meanwhile, many of the women who had accused the producer of sexual assault, only to have him try to smear their names, reacted to his conviction on two charges.

Among them was the actor Rose McGowan, who not only accused Weinstein of raping her, but of trying to stop the publication of a memoir, Brave.

“Today is a powerful day & a huge step forward in our collective healing,” she wrote on Twitter.

Ashley Judd, who was among the first women to go public with their claims, said: “Thank you. I am thinking about how it took 90 women coming forward for two guilty convictions.”

Ronan Farrow, one of the journalists who first covered the allegations against Weinstein, said: “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.”

Cy Vance Jr, Manhattan district attorney, praised the women who came forward and “changed the course of history” by sharing their allegations that led to the conviction of Harvey Weinstein. The district attorney spoke outside the courthouse on Monday, shortly after news of the conviction broke.

“This is the new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in America, I believe, and it is a new day. It is a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for crimes he committed,” Mr Vance said. “Weinstein is a vicious, serial sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault and trick, humiliate and silence his victims.”

The defence team has said it will appeal the verdict. Weinstein lawyer Arthur Aidala said: “As sure as I’m a bald man, we will be appealing.”

According to Page Six, Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno said of her client: “He takes a list of different medications. He’s currently getting shots in the eyes so he does not go blind."

The silence breakers, a group of women who have spoken out against Weinstein, said in a joint statement shortly after the verdict was announced: “While it is disappointing that today’s outcome does not deliver the true, full justice that so many women deserve, Harvey Weinstein will now forever be known as a convicted serial predator. This conviction would not be possible without the testimony of the courageous women and the many women who have spoken out.

“Despite intimidation from Weinstein’s legal team, they courageously shared their stories with the jury, the courtroom and the world. This has been a flawed process from the beginning but has further exposed the difficulties women face in coming forward to tell the truth about powerful abusers.

“Their bravery will forever be remembered in history. Our fight is far from over. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has brought charges against Weinstein and we hope he will be met with swift justice. As we have said from our very first statement together as silence breakers: we refuse to be silenced and will continue to speak out until this unrepentant abuser is brought to justice.”

New York District Attorney speaks after Weinstein sentencing

The case against Weinstein was essentially built on three allegations: that he raped an aspiring female actor in a New York City hotel room in 2013, that he forcibly performed oral sex on production assistant Mimi Haleyi, at his apartment in 2006, and that he raped and forcibly performed oral sex on Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra in her apartment in the mid-1990s.

Jurors signalled their struggles with the Sciorra charges four days into deliberations.

Weinstein had pleaded not guilty to the charges. He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

On Friday, after reviewing sections of Ms Sciorra’s testimony and related evidence, the jury sent a note to the judge indicating it was deadlocked on her case but had reached a unanimous verdict on the other counts. After some debate in the courtroom, the judge ordered jurors to keep deliberating.

Additional reporting by agencies

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