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Harvey Weinstein's rape and sexual assault sentences marked a great moment #MeToo

2020-02-25T16:15:29.890Z

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said the verdict against Weinstein marks a new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in the United States, as the magnate & # 8 ...



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The fall of Harvey Weinstein 2:21

(CNN) - The guilty verdict in the case of sexual assault and rape against Harvey Weinstein is being hailed as a turning point in the #MeToo movement, but lawyers of one of Hollywood's most powerful men say who never had the chance for a fair trial.

The disgraced Hollywood tycoon was convicted on February 24, 2020 of committing a first-degree criminal sexual act with one woman and third-degree rape with another. He was acquitted of the most serious charges of predatory sexual assault involving the two women and a charge of rape in the first degree.

“This is a great day. This is a new day, ”said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.“ This is the new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in the United States, I think, and this is a new day. It's a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held responsible for the crimes he committed. ”

  • Harvey Weinstein is convicted of criminal sexual act and rape in the third degree
Weinstein, guilty of two counts of sexual abuse 9:38

Weinstein faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of more than two decades in prison. He was handcuffed and taken into custody after the verdict of the New York jury.

On Monday night, Weinstein was taken to Bellevue Hospital in New York after he began to feel chest pains and heart palpitations and high blood pressure, said his lawyer, Donna Rotunno.

The lawyer of the former Hollywood producer told Jean Casarez of CNN that she was worried about the result.

"I saw (Vance's statement) and I think it is scary to think of a new dawn in the criminal justice system that has no changes," Rotunno told Casarez. Rotunno added that the justice system is based on the rights of citizens to due process and the presumption of innocence.

"And if this notion is simply to start believing people just because it says that it was, I think that defies the criminal justice system as we know it and I think that for anyone accused in such crimes, it is a terrifying proposal." , said.

The women appeared in stories of The New Yorker and The New York Times with accusations against Weinstein. Actress Alyssa Milano asked Twitter users to tell their stories and use the hashtag #MeToo.

In this drawing of the Weinstein court, observe and listen while reading the verdict.

The #MeToo movement was founded in 2006 by activist and writer Tarana Burke.

Burke tweeted Monday that Weinstein's convictions would not have been possible "without the voices of those who break the silence inside and outside the courtroom" and the "survivors who testified bravely" against him.

Weinstein case: historical verdict for #MeToo 0:34

The jurors deliberated for five days

The jury acquitted Weinstein, 67, for the most serious charges of predatory sexual assault involving two women, Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann.

In doing so, jurors indicated that they did not find beyond a reasonable doubt that Weinstein had also raped actress Annabella Sciorra, another alleged victim whose testimonies prosecutors used in an attempt to establish Weinstein's predatory behavior.

"My testimony was painful but necessary," Sciorra said Monday in a statement to CNN. “I spoke for myself and with the strength of the more than eighty victims of Harvey Weinstein in my heart. While we wait for continuous and just results that bring absolute justice, we can never regret breaking the silence. Because in telling the truth to power, we pave the way to a more just culture, free from the scourge of violence against women. ”

The jurors deliberated for more than 26 hours for five days before arriving at a verdict on Monday morning. The motion for a null trial by the defense on Monday was denied.

When the verdict was read, jurors seemed not to look at Weinstein and may have been avoiding eye contact with anyone.

The sentence is scheduled for March 11.

For the charge of first-degree criminal sexual act, he faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of 25 years in prison.

For the charge of rape in the third degree, he essentially does not face a minimum prison time and a maximum of four years.

Actress Ashley Judd, who accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, praised the women at the center of the New York case.

"For the women who testified in this case, and walked through a traumatic hell, they made a public service to girls and women everywhere, thanks," Judd tweeted.

Agents move to Weinstein after the verdict. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

But Weinstein's criminal cases are not over. He also faces charges of sexual assault and rape in separate incidents in Los Angeles.

Weinstein has denied accusations of non-consensual sexual activity related to the other women.

How the case developed

Weinstein was charged with first-degree criminal sexual acts, two counts of rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault.

The charges were based on Haley's testimony that Weinstein forced her to have oral sex in 2006 and Mann's testimony that he raped her in 2013 during what she described as an abusive relationship.

Four other women, including Sciorra, also testified that Weinstein attacked them sexually when prosecutors tried to prove that he used his power in the film industry to take advantage of young and inexperienced women.

Sciorra's testimony that he raped her in the winter of 1993-1994 is outside the statute of limitations, but could have been used to support the charges of predatory sexual assault, which requires serious sexual offenses against at least two victims.

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What you should know about the trial against Harvey Weinstein 1:23

Weinstein's lawyers argued that the sexual encounters were consensual. As evidence, they pointed out that both Haley and Mann had sex with Weinstein after the alleged attacks, and continued to have friendly contact with him for years later.

Weinstein's lawyers said they will appeal the jury's decision.

"While he was not convicted of the most serious charges, we are disappointed with the verdict and will file an appeal," said a statement on behalf of Rotunno and Damon Cheronis. “There are problems in this trial that were extremely worrying and impaired Mr. Weinstein's ability to have his case judged fairly. These will be directed to a higher court. ”

Rotunno told CNN that he didn't think Weinstein had had a fair trial.

The lawyers also said they are working to ensure that Weinstein is taken to an infirmary and placed in protective custody at Rikers "so that he can get the best supervision and medical care possible."

The verdict 'marks a new era of justice'

The testimonies of women highlighted questions about consent and power dynamics, questions that rarely, if ever, have been tested in court.

Tina Tchen, president and CEO of Time's Up Foundation, said the verdict marks an important turning point.

"This trial, and today's jury's decision, marks a new era of justice, not only for the Silence Breakers, who spoke with great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse and aggression at work," he said. Tchen said in a statement.

Debra Katz, a lawyer for Dawn Dunning, who testified against Weinstein, said Monday afternoon that Weinstein should go to prison.

"Harvey Weinstein has hurt dozens and dozens of people for his violent sexual predator rapist behavior, and today there can be no other argument that Harvey Weinstein is exactly where he should be," Katz said.

Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for Tarale Wulff, who also testified against Weinstein at the trial, said that while Monday's verdict was significant, Weinstein's behavior has hurt his client and others.

“While he has been convicted, we cannot undo the damage he has caused to so many victims. Today will be a great relief for all survivors of the assault, ”he said.

- Aaron Cooper and Lauren del Valle of CNN reported from New York; Steve Almasy of CNN wrote from Atlanta. Chloe Melas, Holly Yan, Brian Vitagliano, Eric Levenson and Lisa Respers France of CNN contributed to this report.

Harvey weinstein

Source: cnnespanol

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