Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty on Accounts of Third-Degree Rape


Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty on the grounds of third-degree rape and criminal sex crimes.

Jasmeen Rivera, Reporter

The famous former Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, was found guilty of third-degree rape on Monday, February 24th. He faces as many as 25 years in prison. Weinstein was found guilty of criminal sex for sexually assaulting his assistant, Mimi Haleyi, in his apartment and raping a woman in 2013. His accusers claimed during their testimonies graphic stories, including, rape, forced oral sex, and so forth. Weinstein claims that all acts of sexual conduct were consensual.

The case was fundamentally built on the rape of a pursuing actress in New York City in 2013, impelling oral sex on assistant Mimi Hayleyi in his apartment, and performing the same act on “Sopranos” actress Annabell Sciorra in her apartment in the mid 1990’s. However, Ronan Farrow, and American journalist, wrote an expose concerning thirteen women who accused the movie mogul of sexual assault. Eight women of these women voiced what had happened: Dawn Dunning, Miram Haleyi, Jessica Mann, Annabella Sciorra, Tarale Wulff, Lauren Young, Meghan Hast, and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon.

“These are eight women who pulled our justice system into the 21st century by declaring that rape is rape and sexual assault is sexual assault no matter what. Rape is rape whether it’s committed by a stranger in a dark alley or by an intimate partner [or] in a working relationship,” stated Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.

Weinstein did not testify to avoid cross-examination on the allegations. He confirmed this decision on February 11th after an hour of speculation with his lawyers behind closed doors. Weinstein’s defense lawyer, Arthur Aidala, stated that his client was ready to testify. However, they decided against it because they felt prosecutors were doing a bad job at proving their case.

Six of Weinstein’s accusers testified in court. Other accusers were allowed to testify because prosecutors believed Weinstein had a specific method to his attacks. A young model from Philadelphia, Lauren Marie Young, said Weinstein invited her to his hotel room in Beverly Hills and lured her to the bathroom where he stripped off her clothes, pulled down her dress, and groped her breasts. Her case was filed in California as the trial was underway. Young’s accusation follows the first by Sciorra, who says Weinstein barged into her apartment, threw her on the bed, and raped her as she thrashed and fought her attacker. Jurors saw a pattern of Weinstein fawning over younger women, while creating a facade intended to show interest in their career before persuading them into a private location in order to assault them.

On the other hand, the defense relied on three prime witnesses to create doubt on the accusations. One witness, Talia Maia, a roommate of one of the accusers, said that she never gave any indication that he had done anything wrong to her. Maia said the accuser had actually called Weinstein her “spiritual soulmate.” Another friend of the woman, Thomas Richards, testified that when she had met up with the accuser for breakfast, she was “her everyday self” a short time after she said Weinstein allegedly assaulted her. Richards said that the woman was friendly towards Weinstein with no indication she had been raped. The last witness, Mexican model and actress Claudia Salinas, when asked about Young’s claims that she had stood at the door and did nothing while Weinstein groped Young, she responded, “it never happened.”

Young, however, said Salinas closed the bathroom door behind Young and Weinstein where he forcibly assaulted her. After, Young found Salinas standing by the door where Young shot her a “evil look” and left. “If I had done that, I would remember that,” Salinas testified. “I would never close the door on anybody.”

According to Fox News, rumors of Weinstein’s deeds had swirled throughout Hollywood circles for a while, where Weinstein silenced victims with non-disclosure agreements, paying them off, and blackmailed them that he would ruin their careers if they spoke out. Weinstein was arrested in May 2018. This was seven months after The New York Times published the articles of his misconduct which later went on to win a Pulitzer prize.

The Weinstein Co., the American independent film studio founded by Weinstein in 2005, has plummeted since his demise and has gone bankrupt. A settlement was reached last year and the studio will pay all Weinstein victims $25 million. However, under the presented agreement, Weinstein does not have to admit any fault nor pay anything out his pocket. The money will come out of the studio’s insurance.

Weinstein, on numerous accounts, has tried to silence victims and journalists who attempted to expose his wrongdoings. This includes hiring Black Cube, a spy agency ran by former Massad agents. According to Fox News, in court, when asked why Weinstein hired the agency, he turned to a reporter: “For days like this.”

We now wait to see the fate of Weinstein, though his criminal charges and the victim testimonies do not promise him a bright future.