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On Monday, February 24, former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted on two counts of sexual misconduct. He was sentenced to at least five years in prison for his crimes.
Weinstein, 67, faced five charges on accusations that he raped two women several decades ago. Based on these charges, he was convicted of third-degree rape and first-degree sexual assault.
He was not convicted on the charge of predatory assault, meaning the jury couldn’t determine without a reasonable doubt whether he committed those acts. He still faces up to 25 years in jail in sentencing that is scheduled to take place on March 11, 2020.
Some 80 women have accused Weinstein of rape or other unwanted sexual advances in recent years, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman and Salma Hayek. This week’s verdict, however, stemmed from the accusations of two women, Jessica Mann and Miriam Haley, both of whom were in the entertainment industry.
He still faces charges in California for the alleged assault of two women in 2013.
During the trial, the women outlined Weinstein’s repeated attempts to engage them in unwanted sexual acts, including showing up unannounced at hotel rooms. Other tales of lurid scenes were peppered throughout the accuser’s testimony.
Weinstein’s defense sought to portray the women as having been willing participants in consensual acts in an effort to advance their careers.
Rumors of Weinstein’s misconduct circulated behind closed doors for years in the entertainment industry. It wasn’t until 2017, after a torrent of new allegations surfaced, that formal charges were brought against the mogul.
The multitude of accusers spawned the #MeToo movement, in which gender discrimination and abuses of power, particularly sexual abuse, are highlighted in society.
After the verdict was announced, Tina Tchen, the President and CEO of Time’s Up, an organization dedicated to ending sexual assault, characterized the verdict as a turning point.
“While we celebrate this historic moment, our fight to fix the broken system that has allowed serial abusers like Harvey Weinstein to abuse women in the first place continues. Abusers everywhere and the powerful forces that protect them should be on notice: There’s no going back,” she said.