After a lengthy trial, the uprise of the #MeToo movement, and countless recounts of sexual abuse, disgraced Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein has finally faced his conviction.
After five days of deliberation, a jury of seven men and five women found Weinstein guilty of a criminal sex act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. While the accused now faces a minimum sentence of four years and a maximum sentence of 29 years, he was acquitted of three other charges – two of which included serious counts of predatory sexual assault carrying a life sentence.
Many have regarded the Harvey Weinstein case, and his conviction, a ‘watershed moment’ for the #MeToo movement, however others are skeptical that justice has – or will be – completely served.
Listen to the GOAT team breakdown the whole thing on the latest ep of It’s Been A Big Day For…below:
How Did We Get Here?
Allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein first surfaced in October 2017, when journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published a groundbreaking report in the New York Times.
Weinstein issued an apology acknowledging he had “caused a lot of pain,” but disputed the allegations. As time passed, more women came forward and more sexual assault accusations against the Hollywood producer emerged, spurring the #MeToo movement on social media.
Eventually, Harvey Weinstein was fired by the board of his company, expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ‘cancelled’ from Hollywood.
A criminal investigation was launched in New York in 2017, but Weinstein wasn’t charged until 2018, when he turned himself into police. He was later released on $1M bail, but was forced to surrender his passport and wear an ankle monitor with travel restricted to New York and Connecticut.
On January 6, 2020 his trial began. Over one month later and after five days of deliberation, Harvey Weinstein faced his conviction, was handcuffed and taken to jail. He is set to be sentenced on March 11th.
What Happens Now?
As mentioned previously, Harvey Weinstein’s defence team plan to appeal the verdict with his attorney Arthur Aidala saying, “As sure as I’m a bald man, we will be appealing.”
However, Weinstein still faces charges in Los Angeles, with authorities alleging he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another on back-to-back nights during Oscars week in 2013. For these charges, Weinstein faces up to 28 years in prison.
We will just have to wait and see what happens when it comes to Harvey Weinstein’s sentencing, and the charges against him in Los Angeles, but one thing is clear: this verdict gives victims of sexual assault at least some hope that even a man with so much power and wealth is not above or beyond the law.
This trial, and Weinstein’s conviction, has also highlighted the bravery of all the women who came forward to tell their stories and share their experiences. We can only hope that their fearlessness in the face of Harvey Weinstein, the media and his defence team will encourage other women to speak out and seek justice.
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