Former movie producer and Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has finally been found guilty of rape and sexual assault in a trial at the New York supreme court. The verdict is important because it marks the deliverance of justice to the aspiring female actors who sparked the hugely important #MeToo movement in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations.
The jury of seven men and five women took exactly five days to reach the verdict.
Among the charges levied against him, Weinstein was found guilty of a criminal sex act in the first degree for forcing oral sex on his former production assistant. He was also found guilty of rape in the third degree in relation to a woman in a New York Hotel in 2013.
It is not yet known, however, that how long his sentence will be but most legal analysts have noted that a sentence of a minimum five years to a maximum of 25 years can be expected.
Several women’s’ rights campaigners have noted that the verdict marks an important milestone for the #MeToo movement since it now shows that vulnerable young women falling prey to powerful men in the entertainment industry are not alone and helpless. Even the mighty can fall and the law can deliver them justice.
Michelle Simpson Tuegel, the attorney representing the sexual assault survivors said that the verdict marks the moment when more women will come forward with complaints against their sexual abusers.
“No matter how powerful a person is, no matter how much mud or dirt may be flung at those who have the courage to come forward, we are in a new time. The #MeToo era has thankfully started to unmask these systems of abuse of power, and now women can be heard and believed,” The Guardian quoted Simpson Tuegel.
Weinstein, who helmed cult Hollywood flicks like Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare In Love, has over 81 Academy Awards on his belt. His fall for grace was astounding.
More than 80 women have claimed that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them over the past three decades and Weinstein has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Police in New York, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and London have said they are investigating allegations of sexual assault or rape by Weinstein. The allegations sparked the #MeToo social media campaign around the world and this phenomenon is referred to as the “Weinstein effect”.
On May 25, 2018, Weinstein was arrested in New York and charged with rape. On January 6, 2020, his trial commenced, and he was also charged with rape in Los Angeles. Finally, on February 24 i.e. today, Weinstein was found guilty of two of five felonies in New York.
The New York trial today, however, acquitted Weinstein of three further charges, including the two most serious counts. This included predatory sexual assault and an alternative count of rape in the first degree. If convicted, Weinstein could have been facing a life sentence by now.
Courtesy : DNA