Harvey Weinstein was found guilty Monday of rape at a Los Angeles trial in another #MeToo moment of reckoning, five years after he became a magnet for the movement. After deliberating for nine days over more than two weeks, the jury of eight men and four women reached the verdict at the second criminal trial of the 70-year-old onetime powerful movie mogul, who is two years into a 23-year sentence for a rape and sexual assault conviction in New York. Weinstein was found guilty of rape, forced oral copulation, and another sexual misconduct count involving a woman who was not identified during the trial, the AP reports.
The jury hung on several counts, notably charges involving Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The jury reported it was unable to reach verdicts in her allegations and the allegations of another woman. A mistrial was declared on those counts. Weinstein was acquitted of a sexual battery allegation made by another woman. "It is time for the defendant's reign of terror to end," Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez said in the prosecution's closing argument last week. Lacking forensic evidence or eyewitness accounts of assaults Weinstein's accusers said happened from 2005 to 2013, the case hinged heavily on the stories and credibility of the four women at the center of the charges.
Defense lawyers said two of the women were entirely lying about their encounters with Weinstein, and that the other two had "100% consensual" sexual interactions that they later reframed. "Regret is not the same thing as rape," attorney Alan Jackson said in his closing argument. Weinstein beat four other felony charges before the trial ended when prosecutors said a woman he was charged with raping twice and sexually assaulting twice would not appear to testify. They declined to give a reason. Judge Lisa Lench dismissed those charges. Weinstein's New York conviction survived an initial appeal, but the case is set to be heard by the state's highest court next year. The California conviction, also likely to be appealed, means he will not walk free even if the East Coast conviction is thrown out.
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