Harvey Weinstein, a former powerful Hollywood movie producer, was found guilty on sexual assault and rape charges on February 24.
Weinstein made headlines in 2017 when numerous victims came forward about his sexual attacks on them. Around 80 women, including actresses Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow, have accused him of sexual violence.
Most of his attacks occurred within the past century; some dating back to the early 1990s.
These public allegations laid the foundation for the #MeToo Movement, which consisted of victims publicly speaking out about their sexual assault experiences. Within days of the campaign, social media platforms were overcome with status updates that read, “#MeToo”.
During the trial, Weinstein’s defense team argued that despite the numerous accusations made against him, the sexual acts were consensual. But the prosecutor’s portrayed the former director as a narcassist who utilized his power and influence in Hollywood to prey on women.
While he continues to proclaim his innocence, the New York jurors weren’t convinced that day in the courtroom. After five days of debate, they determined that the evidence presented against Weinstein was substantial enough to convict him of third- degree rape and first- degree sexual assault, according to BBC news.
Even though he was only found guilty on two of the five charges against him, he still faces up to 25 years in prison. And his days in the courtroom aren’t going to be over anytime soon.
Two more sexual assault charges still lie ahead for the former director.
Although the acquittals weren’t the ideal outcome for the women he assaulted, they still see it as a victory.
McGowan, who was one of the first to speak out about Harvey Weinstein’s abuse, reflected on the verdict by saying, “Today is a powerful day and a huge step forward in collective healing.”
Weinstein is due to appear back in court on March 11, where he will receive his sentencing.
Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash
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