Guilty at Last
The verdict is out: Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty at his sexual assault trial. The verdict comes more than two years after the first allegations against the powerhouse film producer emerged. Since then, over 100 women have accused him of sexual harassment, assault or rape, with many famous actresses amongst them.
Weinstein was found guilty of a criminal sex act for forcibly performing oral sex on a woman in 2006 and of third-degree rape in 2013. However, he was acquitted of the more severe charges of predatory sexual assault. He faces up to 29 years in prison.
Weinstein refused to accept the verdict. “But I’m innocent,” he repeated three times to his lawyers and refused to move when the court officers attempted to send him to jail to await sentencing.
Representing Weinstein is lead attonery Donna Rotunno, who has an impressive 40-1 record of defending men accused of sex crimes. “It’s absolutely horrible for me to watch my client taken into custody,” she said. “Harvey is very strong. He took it like a man. He knows this is not over”.
She claimed that his accusers had willingly chosen to have sex with him to advance their careers. Only years later, after Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment did they claim that these encounters were nonconsensual.
She argued that this was why the #MeToo movement kicked off from the investigation had gone too far – it was allowing women to play the victim and not bear responsibility for their decisions.
What this means for #MeToo
On the other hand, women rights advocates have slammed Ms Rotunno for being unsympathetic towards the victims and ignoring the facts. They argue that the #MeToo movement was unprecedented in allowing countless women to speak up against rich, powerful predators.