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Harvey Weinstein found guilty of rape at Los Angeles trial

A Los Angeles jury found Harvey Weinstein guilty of one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault at his trial. 

He was acquitted on one further count of sexual battery and the jury was hung on other three charges against him which were brought by four accusers, who were all identified as Jane Does.

The jury, made up of nine men and three women, reached their decision after 10 days of deliberations and 41 hours of debate.

The 70-year old Weinstein, who is already serving a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault for his 2020 New York conviction on sex crime charges, was alleged to have committed the assaults against the women between 2005 and 2013.

A total of 44 witnesses testified during the five-week trial where four women testified anonymously as “Jane Does,” including Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had previously identified herself as being part of the trial.

Former film producer Harvey Weinstein (L) interacts with his attorney Mark Werksman in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, California, on 4 October 2022.
Former film producer Harvey Weinstein (L) with his attorney Mark Werksman in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Four additional “prior bad acts” witnesses — women who were not part of the case, but said they had also been sexually assaulted by Weinstein — were also allowed to take the stand to establish a pattern of Weinstein’s behavior and provided emotionally-charged testimony.

One of those victims, Ashley M., testified she was raped by the disgraced Miramax and Weinstein Company producer in a hotel in Puerto Rico while she was working as the body double for actress Romola Garai. 

Meanwhile, Siebel Newsom broke down in tears when she recounting how Weinstein had allegedly raped her in 2005 at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.

“I’m standing. I’m resisting,” she testified. “Horror. I’m trembling. This is my worst nightmare. I’m just this blow-up doll that he’s just trying to masturbate off of.”

Judge Lisa B. Lench presided over the trial
Judge Lisa B. Lench presided over the trial
Mona Shafer Edwards / BACKGRID

She also got visibly angry later in the case when defense attorney Mark Werksman asked her to show how she had “faked an orgasm” with his client to the courtroom. 

Siebel Newsom retorted, “This is not ‘When Harry Met Sally.’ I’m not doing that.”

In her closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez said the former Hollywood titan lured the women to hotel rooms under the guise of business meetings.

Martinez said Weinstein also used his female employees and associates to reach out and “deliver” the victims to the hotel rooms.Once inside the hotel, Weinstein would undress and masturbate in front of the women. Siebel Newsom and Jane Doe 1, a model, testified Weinstein penetrated them with his “deformed” penis. 

Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Mark Werksman in a courtroom sketch
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer Alan Jackson in a court sketch
Mona Shafer Edwards / BACKGRID

“In a word, he was powerful, and he held that power to prey on women, to silence women,” Martinez said. “He used that power without the consequences of his predatory behavior. … He believed he was so powerful. For many years that’s what he did. The truth is, many people knew but never did anything.”

Defense attorney Alan Jackson, however, told jurors during his closing argument that prosecutors did not provide any evidence to prove Weinstein had committed the charges related to the four “Jane Does.” He added the other four “prior bad acts” witnesses were just “excuses to pile on” Weinstein. 

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez, who  prosecuted the case
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez, who prosecuted the case
Mona Shafer Edwards / BACKGRID

Jackson said the alleged rape of Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 “simply never happened,” while Jane Doe 3 and Jane Doe 4— Siebel Newsom— had “transactional sex” with Weinstein and continued a relationship with him because it benefitted their careers to be associated with the then powerful Hollywood producer. 

“‘Take my word for it’— five words that sum up the entirety of the prosecution’s case,” Jackson said. “They were untruthful with you, without exception. Jane Doe 1, 2, 3, 4 all told you lies. … “Fury does not make facts, and tears do not make truth.”

In his 2020 New York trial, jurors took five days to deliberate. They found Weinstein guilty of rape and criminal sexual assault but acquitted him of the most serious charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault.

The accusations in Weinstein’s New York case set into motion the #MeToo movement, exposing predatory practices with the Hollywood “casting couch” culture and other industries.

Weinstein will be sentenced in the new year.

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