The Harvey Weinstein Verdict 

Maeve Lawler, Staff Writer

On February 24, in Manhattan, NYC, famous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape–two out of a total of five charges. In recent years, more than 100 women have accused Weinstein of sexual abuse. On March 11, he will be sentenced to prison time, ranging from a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 25 years. 

As the judge announced he would be immediately sent to jail, Weinstein appeared unresponsive. Officers removed him from the courtroom into an ambulance where he was taken to the hospital, complaining of chest pain and high blood pressure. 

Attention toward Weinstein’s criminal acts began in 2017. Many women began to speak openly to reporters about their experiences with Weinstein, jeopardizing his power and reputation. In response, Weinstein hired private “Black Cube” investigators to identify who was calling him out, fearing he would be held accountable for his years of abusive actions toward women. Adding power to the #MeToo Movement, the New York Times published an investigation in October 2017, detailing a handful of women’s experiences with Weinstein. This allowed the New York Police Department to start developing a case against him. In May 2018, Weinstein was arrested under a rape charge from the actress, Jessica Mann. Shortly after, his trial in Manhattan began, leading up to his guilty verdict. 

Throughout Weinstein’s trial, his defense attorney, Donna Rotunno, argued the women accusing Weinstein of sexual assault only had sex with him to further their careers. She justifies that the women were at fault because they put themselves in a position to be assaulted. 

However, her argument had no chance of surviving against the testimonies of six women who were victimized by Weinstein, including Annabella Sciorra, Miriam Haley, Jessica Mann, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff, Lauren Young. Their testimonies demonstrated Weinstein’s pattern of criminal behavior and how he strategically used his power and money to keep them quiet. 

In the heat of Weinstein’s case in Manhattan, a new case in Los Angeles started. Two publically unidentified women accused Weinstein of attacking them in 2013. The court charged him with forcible rape, forcible oral copulations, and sexual penetration by force. These charges are punishable by up to 28 years in prison.

Both trails in Manhattan and LA mark a crucial turning point in the #MeToo Movement. Weinstein’s verdict proves that powerful, wealthy men can and should be held accountable for their actions. Actresses who had been victims of Weinstein’s actions, including Asia Argento, Rosanna Arquette, and others, recognized the importance of Weinstein being charged. Judd wrote on Twitter: “For the women who testified in this case, and walked through traumatic hell, you did a public service to girls and women everywhere, thank you.” The women who testified in Weinstein’s case and have been part of the #MeToo Movement have made an impact on history, displaying to women around the globe that uniting together to speak out against those who assaulted them evokes both compassion and strength in the female community.