While the notorious Weinstein has been found guilty on some counts, the ones involving the Newsom family have been dismissed.
A Los Angeles jury found the disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein guilty on Monday of three counts of sexual assault, including rape, ending a criminal trial that lasted more than four weeks and featured testimony from 49 individual witnesses.
Weinstein, 70, was charged with seven criminal counts involving four different women. The charges included three counts of forcible rape, two counts of sexual battery by restraint, one count of forcible oral copulation and one count of sexual penetration by a foreign object. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Weinstein was found guilty of rape, forced oral copulation and sexual penetration by a foreign object involving an accuser known as Jane Doe 1. He was acquitted of sexual battery against an accuser known as Jane Doe 3. The jury could not reach a verdict on charges involving Jane Doe 2 and Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, and a mistrial was declared on those counts.
Weinstein currently faces a maximum of 18 years in prison, but that could increase to 24 years depending on how the jurors decide on aggravating factors related to the charges. The jury is scheduled to return Tuesday to hear arguments on those aggravating factors.
Following the announcement of the verdict, Jane Doe 1 said in a statement: “Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night in 2013 and I will never get that back. The criminal trial was brutal and Weinstein’s lawyers put me through hell on the witness stand, but I knew I had to see this through to the end, and I did.”
“I hope Weinstein never sees the outside of a prison cell during his lifetime,” she said.
The former Hollywood mogul and co-founder of the entertainment company Miramax — which produced acclaimed movies like “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love” — became the focus of a litany of sex abuse allegations that helped spark the rise of the #MeToo movement five years ago.
He originally faced 11 charges in Los Angeles that could have amounted to a 65-year prison sentence had the jury found him guilty on all counts. However, in a decision announced last month, Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench dropped four of the original charges against Weinstein involving an accuser identified in an indictment as Jane Doe #5. The fifth accuser was not mentioned in prosecutors’ opening statements and she did not testify during Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has not explained why those counts were dropped.
The allegations brought against Weinstein in Los Angeles directly involved four women, all of whom were referred to as Jane Doe in court, and an additional four appeared in court to testify. Two accusers remained anonymous. The first, known as Jane Doe #1, a Russian actor and model now based in Italy, gave an emotional three days of testimony and was the first witness to take the stand. The second, Jane Doe #3, testified that Weinstein trapped her in a hotel bathroom and assaulted her when she was hired to give him a massage in 2010.
The other accusers have identified themselves publicly. They are Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who testified in mid-November; Lauren Young, the only accuser who testified against Weinstein at both his Los Angeles and New York trials; Kelly Sipherd; Ambra Battilana Gutierrez; Natassia Malthe; and Ashley Matthau.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who represented Lauren Young in both the New York and Los Angeles trials, said Young was “very happy that there were convictions in this case,” even though the jury could not reach a verdict on the charge related to her. Allred added that if prosecutors decide to try Weinstein on that charge again, Young is willing to testify for a third time.
Weinstein’s criminal trial in Los Angeles followed his first widely-publicized trial in New York. In February 2020, he was convicted of rape in the third degree and a first-degree criminal sex act, but was found not guilty of three other, more serious charges, including predatory sexual assault, which could have led to a life sentence. Weinstein is currently appealing the New York conviction.
More than 80 women have come forward with accusations of sexual assault and misconduct against Weinstein stretching back several decades. Many of them spoke out on the heels of 2017 reports by The New York Times and New Yorker that initially exposed the allegations and shared some women’s stories.
The investigative reports, and the wave of allegations against Weinstein that followed, served as catalysts in the reckoning over sexual misconduct and abuses of power, in Hollywood and elsewhere, that swept the country and came to be known as #MeToo. In a chain reaction sometimes called the Weinstein effect, people increasingly spoke out about their experiences with sexual assault and misconduct involving influential or otherwise powerful men.
Among those who have publicly accused Weinstein of misconduct in some form are actors Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Kate Beckinsale, Cate Blanchett, Rosanna Arquette, Salma Hayek, Helena Bonham Carter and Paz de la Huerta, along with many more.