Harvey Weinstein, the 67-old former Hollywood movie producer, was found guilty today of two of the five criminal counts he was facing in New York Supreme Court.
He was found guilty of criminal sexual assault in the first degree for performing oral sex on Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi, a former Production Assistant on “Project Runway” – and one count of rape in the third degree for the rape of hairstylist Jessica Mann.
The first-degree sexual assault charge carries a minimum sentence of 5-years and a maximum sentence of 25-years while the third-degree rape charge carries a maximum sentence of four years.
In all, Weinstein had been facing five criminal counts:
Count One: Predatory sexual assault – which involves sex crimes against at least two victims, in this case relating to former Project Runway production assistant Miriam Haley and former Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra. The charge carries a maximum sentence life in prison and a minimum sentence of 10 years.
Count Two: Criminal sex act in the first degree for forcing oral sex on Miriam Haley – which carries a maximum sentence 25 years and a minimum sentence 5 years.
Count Three: In this count relating to a woman who was not named and Annabella Sciorra – which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum sentence of 10 years.
Count Four: First-degree rape of an unnamed victim – which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years and a minimum sentence of five years.
Count Five: Third-degree rape of an unnamed victim – which carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison and no minimum, though a conviction would require Weinstein to register as a sex offender.
Several Troubling Aspects Regarding the Verdicts in Raniere’s Case
While I believe that Harvey Weinstein has very likely committed numerous criminal acts over the years, I am troubled by several aspects of today’s decision.
In many respects, it’s the same sort of mixed feelings I had when the jury convicted Keith Raniere on all seven counts he was facing.
Basically, I’m perfectly OK with the outcomes in the two cases because I think that Raniere and Weinstein both deserve to be incarcerated for long periods of time.
But I’m a lot less OK with the process that led to their convictions.
In Raniere’s case, I’m still not entirely comfortable with him being found guilty of Sex Trafficking (Count Eight), Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking (Count Nine), and Attempted Sex Trafficking (Count Ten).
That’s because I’m not entirely sure that his misdeeds regarding Jane Doe 5, Jane Doe 8 and Jane Doe 7 were the types of actions that the applicable statutes were meant to cover (I’m sure that argument will be part of his inevitable appeal).
But I am 100% comfortable with the possibility that Raniere may be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.
In reality, Raniere was charged with – and convicted of – only a small percentage of the crimes he actually committed. Which means that life imprisonment is likely what he deserves.
But I would have much preferred that he was charged with – and convicted of – all those other crimes.
Also Some Troubling Aspects Regarding the Verdicts in Harvey Weinstein’s Case
There are also some aspects of Weinstein’s case that I find troubling.
First and foremost, I don’t like the fact that the prosecution was allowed to present testimony from 28 women who claimed to have abused by Weinstein when, in fact, only three of them were involved in the actual charges Weinstein was facing.
And I’m bothered that two of the alleged victims whose allegations led to Weinstein’s convictions also admitted that they had consensual sex with him after his alleged attacks on them.
Both of them also admitted that they continued to send him affectionate emails after the alleged attacks – and to accept gifts from him such as tickets to movie premieres and invitations to Oscar parties.
I get the fact that each sexual encounter between a man and a woman requires mutual consent – and that consent to a prior sexual encounter does not automatically apply to any future situations.
I just wish that the prosecution had been able to produce more witnesses whose stories were not so complicated – and who avoided Weinstein like the coronavirus after he first assaulted them. And I wish that the prosecution did not call one witness (Jessica Mann) who, upon cross-examination, admitted that she previously referred to Weinstein as her “spiritual soulmate” and who admitted she had told a friend that Weinstein gave her the best orgasm she ever had.
I’m also bothered by the fact that the prosecution was allowed to call three witnesses – model Lauren Young, waitress Tarale Wulff and aspiring actress Dawn Dunning – to testify about similar alleged misconduct that was not part of any of the charges Weinstein had been facing.
Once again, I get the fact that such testimony can be helpful in establishing a pattern of criminal conduct – which, in this case, was actually a pattern of predatory behavior.
But I’d much prefer to have that sort of testimony be part of the evidence that the judge hears before handing down a sentence on a convicted defendant rather than have it be part of the deliberations regarding a defendant’s guilt or innocence.
Weinstein Facing More Charges in California – But Already Imprisoned
Just prior to the start of the New York State trial, Weinstein was indicted on four counts of rape and sexual battery in Los Angeles, CA.
Those charges stem from allegations from two women who claim that Weinstein attacked them while they were staying in hotels in Los Angels and Beverly Hills back in 2013.
It is unclear when the trial regarding the California charges will take place. Depending on the sentence that is handed down in the New York State case, it’s even possible that the California charges will never be prosecuted.
Weinstein was immediately handcuffed and taken away after the guilty verdicts were announced (He had been allowed to remain free via a bail bond following his arraignment in New York City).
He is currently scheduled to be sentenced on March 11th – a date that seems almost impossible given the delays that have taken place with respect to the sentencing of all six defendants in the NXIVM case.
But just like it did for Keith Raniere, the concept of “time” has suddenly changed for Harvey Weinstein.
And for both of them, it will never be the same.