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Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty of Rape in a Victory for the #MeToo Movement

Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has been convicted of rape in the third degree and criminal sexual act in the first-degree on Monday. The rape case was brought forth by former aspiring actress Jessica Mann, while the charge of a criminal sexual act was presented by former Project Runway production assistant Mimi Haley’s testimony. The New York jury — made up of seven men and five women — deliberated for five days and found him not guilty on two counts of predatory sexual assault, which could have resulted in a life sentence. He was also acquitted on a count of first-degree rape against Mann.

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In the first conviction to emerge from the dozens of misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie producer was found guilty of sexual assault in a New York court Monday. As Shayna Jacobs reports for @washingtonpost, the jury determined that Weinstein forced a sex act on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in July 2006 and raped former aspiring actress Jessica Mann at a hotel in 2013. He was found not guilty of the most severe charge, predatory sexual assault, which would have acknowledged a pattern that included forcing sex on actress Annabella Sciorra in 1993 or 1994 and would have carried a sentence of 10 years to life in prison. The top conviction count could yield up to 25 years in prison. • The jury of seven men and five women heard about three weeks of testimony in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan before beginning deliberations late Tuesday morning. The verdict “sends a powerful message of just how much progress has been made” since Weinstein’s accusers came forward, said a statement from Time’s Up, an organization advocating for harassment-free workplaces. “This trial — and the jury’s decision today — marks a new era of justice, not just for the Silence Breakers, who spoke out at great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse, and assault at work.” (Photo by John Minchillo)

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The rape conviction is being hailed as a win for the #MeToo movement after more than 80 women accused the Oscar-winning producer of sexual assault and harassment over the decades he was a major power player in Hollywood. The charges were based primarily on allegations from Haley and Mann, and Weinstein pleaded not guilty while denying all allegations of rape. During the trial, both women gave tearful and graphic testimonies where Haley alleged Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in his Manhattan apartment in 2006. Mann broke down as she discussed how Weinstein raped her in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013, telling jurors she believed he injected his penis to induce an erection before assaulting her, NBC reports.

The verdict marks the end of a highly-publicized trial that began on Jan. 6. Weinstein now faces four charges in Los Angeles County, including forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint. The charges are the result of allegations by two women who say Weinstein attacked them in hotels in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills in 2013 and he has not yet entered a plea. Though neither woman has been identified, one is reportedly among the six victims who testified in the New York trial.

“We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit crimes against them,” Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacy said in a statement. “I want to commend the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them.”

Since the start of the trial, images have flooded social media of Weinstein hunched over a walker looking haggard, a stark contrast to the formidable figure he presented himself as in Hollywood. Weinstein faces five to 25 years for the criminal sexual assault conviction and 18 months to four years for the third-degree rape conviction. He will be sentenced on March 11.