Harvey Weinstein trial, fallen titan of Hollywood whose sexual abuse of aspiring young female actors sparked the #MeToo movement has finally been brought to justice.
When James Burke, the New York judge presiding over the sexual assault case against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, spoke to potential jurors about the upcoming trial he attempted to make one thing obvious. “This trial is not a referendum on the #MeToo movement,” he said to them “It is not a referendum on sexual harassment. It is not a referendum on women’s rights.” While ago, also removed Survivor contestant Dan Spilo got into trouble because of the #MeToo movement.
Although the way the case unfolded states differently.
No matter what Burke told the jurors, Weinstein, 67, is seen as a symbol of the at least 201 men who have been stripped of their power and influence after charges of sexual assault and harassment that have poured out since 2017. Even though the #MeToo movement was rarely referenced in court, the issues it raised were front and center of Harvey Weinstein trial.
Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty on two of five possible counts: criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. He was found not guilty, though, of the most serious charges, of predatory sexual assault (two counts) and rape in the first degree. The jury made up of seven men and five women, read the verdict on Monday, nearly a week after beginning deliberations.
Weinstein, 67, was handcuffed and taken straight to jail where he’ll remain until sentencing on March 11. A spokesperson for the defense said they are working to get Weinstein into the “infirmary unit” or protective custody.
“While he was not convicted on the most serious charges, we are disappointed in the verdict and will be filing an appeal. There are issues in this trial that were extremely troubling, and they prejudiced Mr. Weinstein’s ability to have his case fairly judged,” the defense team told Yahoo Entertainment Monday afternoon. “These will be addressed to a higher court. In the meantime, we are working on assuring that Mr. Weinstein is brought to Rikers’ Island’s North infirmary unit (NIU) at the Anna M Kross center complex or in protective custody so that he can get the best medical supervision and care possible.”
Weinstein’s top attorney, Donna Rotunno, spoke to reporters after the Harvey Weinstein Trial and declared “it’s tough to get a fair trial.”
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“Jurors came in knowing everything that they could know about this case, we couldn’t find a juror that never heard of Harvey Weinstein,” Rotunno said in a video. “We’ll absolutely be appealing, the fight is not over.”
Rotunno continued, “Obviously, [Harvey’s] disappointed.”
“Harvey’s unbelievably strong, he took it like a man and he knows that we will continue to fight for him and we know that this is not over,” she stated.
Weinstein was supposed to be transferred to the jail on Rikers Island but was diverted to Bellevue. Weinstein was remanded into custody on Monday morning after a jury convicted him on charges of sexual assault and third-degree rape.
Bellevue is known for its psychiatric facility, but it also serves as a hospital for jail inmates.
Weinstein had been free on $2 million bonds, but Justice James Burke ordered him held in jail prior to sentencing on March 11.
His attorney, Donna Rotunno, urged the judge to allow him to remain free, saying that he recently had unsuccessful back surgery and requires shots in order to keep from going blind. Weinstein appeared in court most days with a walker, which his attorneys said was a result of his lingering back issues.
The vast majority of sexual assaults and rapes go unreported and the few cases that are brought rarely result in convictions. Men convicted of sexual assault and rape often receive light sentences and are painted sympathetically, while victims are humiliated in cross-examination.
The current trial is a stress test of our system of justice.
Weinstein’s attorney, Donna Rotunno, has been arguing that the sex between her client and his victims was consensual. Rotunno wants the jury to believe that women cannot know or describe what Weinstein did to them accurately.
She additionally wants something more, and much worse — she wants the jury to say that the law entitles Weinstein to re-label sexual assault and rape as consensual sex; and that because he wants this, demands this, the jury should agree with him.