Harvey Weinstein has been convicted by a New York jury of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree, skirting more serious charges that would have meant life behind bars.
He now faces five to 25 years in prison, per New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
He was acquitted on predatory sexual assault charges, which carry the heaviest sentences.
“It’s rape whether committed by an indigent person or man of immense power, prestige and privilege,” Vance said at a press conference after the conviction. “Rape is rape whether the survivor reports within an hour, within a year, or perhaps never.”
He added that he was not “dissatisfied” with the conviction despite the possible paltry minimum sentence, saying that the case had “shattered myths” about sexual assault that have long plagued the criminal justice system.
The jury — comprised of seven men and five women — deliberated for 26-and-a-half hours over five days. Per the Los Angeles Times, jurors struggled over the predatory sexual assault counts, and asked the judge if they could remain deadlocked but decide on the other counts. Manhattan Supreme Court Judge James Burke ordered them to keep deliberating.
The jury heard from six women who, sometimes emotionally, told their stories of rape and the pernicious power Weinstein held over those in the movie-making world.
The defense tried to paint the women as opportunists who engaged in consensual sex to further their careers.
Weinstein’s landmark case was the beginning of the #MeToo movement, a wellspring of women coming forward with allegations of sexual assault against powerful men in a wide swath of industries. Though few men have actually faced legal consequences for the acts — notably, comedian Bill Cosby who is currently serving a three to 10 year prison sentence for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand — many have, at the very least, lost their jobs and suffered damage to their reputation.
Weinstein, for one, is not out of the woods yet — he faces four more counts of rape and sexual battery charges in Los Angeles County.
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