Harvey Weinstein, a disgraced US movie mogul, was found guilty on Monday of raping and sexually assaulting a woman ten years ago as part of what the prosecution claimed was his “reign of terror” over ambitious young actresses in Hollywood.
The producer of “Pulp Fiction,” who is now 70 years old and was once one of the most influential men in the movie business, is already serving a sentence in New York for sex offenses and now faces an additional sentence of up to 24 years in prison.
His victim in the Los Angeles case said Monday she hopes he “never sees the outside of a prison cell during his lifetime.”
“Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night in 2013 and I will never get that back,” the woman, identified during the trial as Jane Doe #1, said in a statement.
Graphic accounts of interactions between the once-powerful producer and women attempting to get into the movie industry were heard during a trial that lasted for weeks.
Prosecutors portrayed a predatory ogre who, for years, exploited his physical dominance and his skill to rape and abuse women without consequence.
According to the prosecution, his victims were terrified and worried about their careers if they spoke out against a powerful figure in Hollywood.
Years of rumors about Weinstein’s wrongdoing had been circulating in Hollywood, but because to his dominance of the field, few were willing to oppose him.
All of that changed in 2017 when shocking allegations against him were made public, sparking the #MeToo movement and allowing women to speak out against sexual harassment at work for the first time. Since then, many of women have said Weinstein was their victim.
His New York convictions, which resulted in a 23-year prison sentence, were followed by accusations in Los Angeles, which ultimately had to do with four women.
He was found guilty on Monday of three of the seven charges he was up against, including forceful rape, forcible oral copulation, and sexual penetration by a foreign object, all of which involved Jane Doe #1 in a Beverly Hills hotel room in February 2013.
He was cleared of one charge of sexual battery by restraint involving another woman by the panel of eight men and four women.
The allegations against two additional women were not decided upon, one of whom was identified by her attorneys as Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the spouse of California Governor Gavin Newsom. On those counts, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench declared a mistrial.
For the charges on which he was found guilty, Weinstein may spend up to 18 years in jail; however, aggravating circumstances could make that sentence up to 24 years.
Tuesday’s hearing will feature arguments from the attorneys regarding the sentence. Siebel Newsom welcomed the verdicts.
“Harvey Weinstein will never be able to rape another woman,” she said. “He will spend the rest of his life behind bars where he belongs. Harvey Weinstein is a serial predator and what he did was rape.
Siebel Newsom said that “throughout the trial, Weinstein’s lawyers used sexism, misogyny and bullying tactics to intimidate, demean and ridicule us survivors. This trial was a stark reminder that we as a society have work to do.”
The Academy Award-winning producer had rejected all the allegations, and his lawyer tried to paint the accusers as either liars who never had sex with his client or as consenting cast members who traded sex for a competitive edge in the film industry.
Prosecutor Marlene Martinez claimed that Weinstein, who is credited with launching the careers of well-known actors like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Gwyneth Paltrow, used his influence to prey on and silence victims.
Women who said they had been duped into being alone with Weinstein in his hotel room testified before the jury.
Many spoke of how they had pleaded with him to stop as he touched them, forced oral sex on them, or forced them to watch him masturbate.
“We know the despicable behavior the defendant engaged in,” Martinez told the jury in her closing argument, adding Weinstein believed he was so powerful that people would excuse his behavior.
“‘That’s just Harvey being Harvey. That’s just Hollywood.’ And for so long that’s what everyone did. Everyone just turned their heads,” Martinez said.
“It is time for the defendant’s reign of terror to end,” she added. “It is time for the kingmaker to be brought to justice.”