Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein convicted of rape in highly publicized trial

National

NEW YORK (AP/KETK) – Harvey Weinstein was convicted Monday at his sexual assault trial, sealing his dizzying fall from powerful Hollywood studio boss to archvillain of the #MeToo movement.

The verdict followed weeks of often harrowing and excruciatingly graphic testimony from a string of accusers who told of rapes, forced oral sex, groping, masturbation, lewd propositions and that’s-Hollywood excuses from Weinstein about how the casting couch works.

The conviction was seen as a long-overdue reckoning for Weinstein after years of whispers about his behavior turned into a torrent of accusations in 2017 that destroyed his career and gave rise to #MeToo, the global movement to encourage women to come forward and hold powerful men accountable for their sexual misconduct.

The jury of seven men and five women took 5 days to find him guilty.

The jury sent a note to Judge James Burke at the end of a fourth day of deliberations on Friday, asking if it was permissible for the panel to be hung on one or both counts of predatory sexual assault against the disgraced movie mogul while reaching a unanimous verdict on lesser charges.

The judge responded by ordering the jury to keep deliberating and try to reach a unanimous decision. The query sparked speculation that the trial could end with a partial verdict, but Burke has not addressed that.

Previous notes suggested that jurors were focused on a key aspect of both predatory sexual assault counts – “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra’s allegations that Weinstein attacked her in the mid-1990s. The jury must factor in Sciorra’s account, along with the accusations that Weinstein raped an aspiring actress in March 2013 and forced oral sex on former film and TV production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006, to find him guilty of predatory sexual assault.

A guilty verdict on just one of those two predatory sexual assault charges would likely send Weinstein to prison for the rest of his life.

Weinstein has maintained any sexual encounters were consensual.

The Associated Press has a policy of not publishing the names of people who allege sexual assault without their consent. It is withholding the name of the 2013 rape accuser because it isn’t clear whether she wishes to be identified publicly.

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