Image Credit: Desiree Wios / New York Times
A New York jury convicted Harvey Weinstein of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and rape in the third degree, but the jury acquitted him of two counts of predatory sexual assault and rape in the first degree. He will now be sentenced, and he is currently facing the possibility of serving between five and twenty-nine years behind bars.
The split verdict was given during the fifth day of deliberations, with the jury having deliberated for more than twenty-four hours. While the verdict was a partial win for the prosecution, Weinstein was acquitted of the two most serious charges – predatory sexual assault and rape in the first degree. His acquittal on these charges spared Weinstein the possibility of a life sentence.
As the guilty verdict came in, witnesses say Weinstein repeated three times to his attorneys that he is “innocent.” After the verdict was read, Justice James M. Burke thanked the jurors for their service. The judge then announced that Weinstein would be sent to jail immediately to await sentencing. However, once court officers approached him, Weinstein refused to move. Weinstein was then handcuffed and physically removed from the courtroom.
Though on his way to Rikers Island jail in an ambulance, Weinstein was instead taken to Bellevue Hospital after he complained of chest pains and showed signs of high blood pressure. Weinstein’s lead defense attorney, Donna Rotunno, said Weinstein was “fine,” but she would not elaborate on his condition. It has since been reported that Weinstein stayed at Bellevue overnight and was still there as of early this morning.
Rotunno also claimed to be “shocked” at the verdict. She made it clear that they would be appealing the decision. Rotunno has faced backlash of her own over statements made throughout the trial as well as her victim-shaming cross-examination tactics.
Weinstein will be sentenced on March 11. He will next answer to four more counts of rape and sexual battery charges in Los Angeles.
Liz Costello, University at Buffalo School of Law, Class of 2020. Liz is the Treasurer of the Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Law Society, an Articles Editor of the Buffalo Law Review, and an anticipated associate at Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham LLC. Having grown up in Los Angeles with an entertainment attorney mother, Liz is especially interested in the legal issues surrounding music, film, television, and sports. Her favorite activities include going to local live music and sporting events.