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Weinstein ‘disgraced’ with conviction for rape and sexual assault

Irobiko Chimezie
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Harvey Weinstein, 67, was convicted Monday for rape and sexual assault against two women in New York.

The conviction will not be the end of the fall from grace for the ex-Hollywood mogul, who faces still more misconduct charges in Los Angeles.

Noted Weinstein journalist Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker tweeted Monday:

“New: Los Angeles prosecutors are moving forward with their separate case against Weinstein — which could include a more expansive group of witnesses and lead to greater sentencing exposure. Paul Thompson, the LA Deputy District Attorney, tells me: ‘We are definitely proceeding.'”

Weinstein, 67, faces a March 11 sentence of up to 29 years in prison arising from his New York conviction on charges of third-degree rape and a criminal sexual act, subject to appeal; he could face another 28 years behind bars in his California case.

In that case, announced just as the New York trial was getting underway on Jan. 6, authorities allege he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another on back-to-back nights during Oscars week in 2013.

“This is the new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in America, I believe, and it is a new day,” New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said Monday after Weinstein was found guilty. “It is a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for crimes he committed.

“Weinstein is a vicious, serial sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault and trick, humiliate and silence his victims.”

Weinstein’s lawyers said they will appeal in New York.

“Harvey is unbelievably strong; he took it like a man,” defense attorney Donna Rotunno said. “He knows that we will continue to fight for him, and we know that this is not over.”

The jury of seven men and five women took five days to find Weinstein guilty of raping an aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006 by forcibly performing oral sex on her.

He was acquitted on the most serious charges, two counts of predatory sexual assault, each carrying up to life in prison. Those counts were connected to the testimony of “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein barged into her apartment, raped her and forcibly performed oral sex on her in the mid-1990s.

Judge James Burke ordered Weinstein taken to jail immediately.

“Weinstein with his manipulation, his resources, his attorneys, his publicists and his spies did everything he could to silence to survivors,” Vance Jr. said after the verdict.

During the case, Weinstein’s lawyers repeatedly raised objections that could form the basis of an appeal. Among other things, the defense complained that the Los Angeles charges were timed to influence jury selection, and they unsuccessfully opposed the seating of a juror who wrote a novel involving predatory older men.

Rumors about Weinstein’s behavior swirled in Hollywood circles for a long time, but those who say they were victimized by the powerful moviemaker say he managed to silence many accusers with payoffs, nondisclosure agreements and the constant fear that he could crush their careers if they spoke out.

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