Disgraced former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape in a Los Angeles courtroom on Monday, capping a a month-long criminal trial and nine days of jury deliberations, as the New York Times reports.
Though Weinstein was found guilty of rape and sexual assault with regard to only one of four accusers involved in the California case, the outcome may well ensure that he spends the rest of his days behind bars.
In the case at issue, the jury convicted Weinstein on three counts related to an assault on a woman at a hotel in Beverly Hills back in 2013, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Reacting to the verdict, that victim explained, “Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night. I will never get that back.”
Describing the resolve she felt with regard to helping bring her attacker to justice, she added, “But I knew I had to see this through to the end...I hope Weinstein never sees the outside of a prison cell during his lifetime.”
Weinstein was also facing a series of other charges involving alleged assaults on three other women said to have occurred between the years of 2004 and 2013 as part of the Los Angeles trial, but the jury was either unable to reach a verdict or acquitted him on those counts.
Going back all the way to 2017, over 100 women have stepped forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault and misconduct, and his indictment in Los Angeles ultimately yielded graphic testimony from an especially high-profile individual in the state, namely, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, now married to California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Though in the end, the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on the charges related to Ms. Siebel Newsom's rape claim, she spent two emotionally charged days recounting a 2005 encounter with Weinstein in a hotel room.
Siebel Newsom described Weinstein's lewd conduct and repeated attempts to coerce her into sex, which she said ultimately culminated in rape. “I'm shaking. I'm crying. He knows this is not consent at all,” she recalled.
In the wake of Weinstein's conviction, Siebel Newsom issued a statement expressing relief that “Harvey Weinstein will never be able to rape another woman. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars where he belongs.”
However, the governor's wife went on to lament, “Throughout the trial, Weinstein's lawyers used sexism, misogyny, and bullying tactics to intimidate, demean, and ridicule us survivors. This trial was a stark reminder that we as a society have work to do. To all survivors out there – I see you, I hear you, and I stand with you.”
Because of Monday's decision, Weinstein is facing upwards of 18 years in prison in the California case, but according to the Los Angeles Times, prosecutors contend that due to aggravating factors related to his offenses, his sentence should go as high as 24 years.
Weinstein's chances of walking free were already in serious doubt, given that he is a mere two years into a 23-year sentence in New York, having been convicted of rape and sexual assault there back in 2020.
Though Weinstein, 70, is in the process of pursuing all possible appeals of the outcome in that case, as the Associated Press noted, even if he prevails in having the conviction there overturned, Monday's result virtually guarantees that he will remain incarcerated for the remainder of his life.
Noted attorney Gloria Allred, who represented one of the accusers in the Los Angeles case, praised the jury's decision, saying “justice was won,” and opined, “Even if the New York conviction remains intact, the women whom Harvey Weinstein victimized in Southern California deserved to have their day in court.”
With the verdict in Los Angeles this week, Weinstein's downfall is essentially complete, and his collapse represents a notable victory for the #MeToo movement of recent years that has sought to bring belated accountability to sexual predators occupying powerful perches in society.
That is not to say that every famous name accused of egregious sexual misconduct has been handed a similar fate, as CBS News notes, with the 2021 decision overturning comedian Bill Cosby's indecent assault conviction and recent prosecutorial failures in cases involving television actor Danny Masterson and film star Kevin Spacey.
The split ruling in Los Angeles may have come as a disappointment to the accusers in the case and also to the legions of others who have accused Weinstein over the years, but the fact of his likely permanent incarceration may have the broader effect of bolstering courage among others who wish to have their stories heard.