Harvey Weinstein

'Far From Over': Reactions Are Swift and Strong Following Weinstein Verdict

Time's Up -- an organization that insists on safe, fair & dignified work for women -- called the verdict a "victory for survivors everywhere"

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The reactions were swift and strong after a New York jury found former Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein guilty of third-degree rape in the case of Jessica Mann and guilty of first-degree sexual assault in the case of Mimi Haleyi, acquitting him of the two most serious counts of predatory sex assault.

"Sopranos" actress Anabella Sciorra, who testified during trial, issued a statement on the guilty verdict of the disgraced producer.

“My testimony was painful but necessary. I spoke for myself and with the strength of the eighty plus victims of Harvey Weinstein in my heart. While we hope for continued righteous outcomes that bring absolute justice, we can never regret breaking the silence. For in speaking truth to power we pave the way for a more just culture, free of the scourge of violence against women,” Sciorra said.

Sciorra confronted Weinstein from the witness stand last month, testifying that the former Hollywood studio boss overpowered and raped her and made other crude overtures that included sending her X-rated chocolates and showing up uninvited in his underwear with a bottle of baby oil in one hand and a video in the other.

In a quivering voice, Sciorra told the jury that the burly Weinstein barged into her apartment in the mid-1990s, threw her on a bed and forced himself on her as she tried to fight him off by kicking and punching him.

Actress Rosanna Arquette, one of Weinstein's accusers, shared her reaction on Twitter following Monday's verdict.

"Gratitude to the brave women who’ve testified and to the jury for seeing through the dirty tactics of the defense. we will change the laws in the future so that rape victims are heard and not discredited and so that it’s easier for people to report their rapes," she tweeted.

In a statement, the Silence Breakers, a group of women who came forward to report Weinstein's sexual misconduct, said: “While it is disappointing that today’s outcome does not deliver the true, full justice that so many women deserve, Harvey Weinstein will now forever be known as a convicted serial predator. This conviction would not be possible without the testimony of the courageous women and the many women who have spoken out. Despite intimidation from Weinstein’s legal team, they courageously shared their stories with the jury, the courtroom and the world. This has been a flawed process from the beginning but has further exposed the difficulties women face in coming forward to tell the truth about powerful abusers. Their bravery will forever be remembered in history. Our fight is far from over. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has brought charges against Weinstein and we hope he will be met with swift justice. As we have said from our very first statement together as Silence Breakers: we refuse to be silenced and will continue to speak out until this unrepentant abuser is brought to justice.”

Among the Silence Breakers are Arquette and actress Ashley Judd, among more than a dozen others.

Judd also took to Twitter writing that the women who testified "did a public service to girls and women everywhere."

She went on to simply say "thank you."

During a Silence Breakers phone conference following the verdict, actress Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein's accusers, said that Weinstein's conviction "is a powerful day and a huge step forward in our collective healing."

McGowan, whose allegations helped topple the once lauded Hollywood producer, said that she decided to come forward 20 years ago after hearing he did the same to someone else.

"For once he won't be sitting comfortably. For once he will know what it's like to have power wrapped around his neck," she went on to say. "This is taking out the trash."

"We are in a privileged position," she said, because "only 2 percent of rapes get a conviction."

In the same phone conference, Mira Sorvino called the conviction "a drop in the wave of justice."

"He will rot in jail as he deserves," she said. "And we will have some closure."

Lauren Sivan, who is also a "Silence Breaker," said that "victim shaming will not work anymore as a defense."

Zoe Brock, one of Weinstein's accusers, called the conviction "a huge day" during the phone conference, adding that she "expected the worst."

"Harvey Weinstein is a convicted rapist. I am so happy about it," she said.

Time's Up -- an organization that insists on safe, fair & dignified work for women -- called the verdict a "victory for survivors everywhere."

In a statement, Tina Tchen, the president and CEO of Time's Up Foundation, said in part: “This trial — and the jury’s decision today — marks a new era of justice, not just for the Silence Breakers, who spoke out at great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse, and assault at work."

Tchen went on to thank all the Silence Breakers "for their bravery and resolve as they faced this man in court."

“While we celebrate this historic moment, our fight to fix the broken system that has allowed serial abusers like Harvey Weinstein to abuse women in the first place continues, Tchen's statement went on to say.

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi tweeted that Weinstein "terrorized and attacked women for decades," adding that she is sending love to "the women who came forward."

Meanwhile, actress Mia Kirshner simply tweeted: "The jury came back. Harvey Weinstein is found guilty. He is. He did this."

Filmmaker, actor and comedian Judd Apatow also took to social media following the verdict, saying in part: "This is just the beginning of holding him accountable."

American investigative reporter Ronan Farrow, whose two separate investigations into allegations against Weinstein helped launch the #MeToo movement, also took to social media.

The jury panel, made up of five women and seven men, returned to deliberations on Monday morning, their fifth day of discussions, and issued their decision before lunchtime. The criminal sex act conviction along carries up to 25 years in prison; third-degree rape has a max sentence of four years.

Following the verdict, the judge remanded Weinstein into custody pending sentencing on March 11, rejecting the defense request to keep him out on bail.

The verdict followed weeks of often harrowing and excruciatingly graphic testimony from a string of accusers who told of rapes, forced oral sex, groping, masturbation, lewd propositions and that's-Hollywood excuses from Weinstein about how the casting couch works.

The conviction was seen as a long-overdue reckoning for Weinstein after years of whispers about his behavior turned into a torrent of accusations in 2017 that destroyed his career and gave rise to #MeToo, the global movement to encourage women to come forward and hold powerful men accountable for their sexual misconduct.

The trial was the first criminal case to arise from a barrage of allegations against Weinstein from more than 90 women, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Uma Thurman. Most of those cases were too old to prosecute.

The case against the once-feared producer was essentially built on three allegations: that he raped an aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013, that he forcibly performed oral sex on Haleyi and that he raped and forcibly performed oral sex on Sciorra in her apartment in the mid-1990s.

Three additional women who said they, too, were attacked by Weinstein also testified as part of an effort by prosecutors to show a pattern of brutish behavior on his part.

While Weinstein did not testify, his lawyers contended that any sexual contact was consensual and that his accusers went to bed with him to advance their careers.

The defense seized on the fact that two of the women central to the case stayed in contact with Weinstein through warm and even flirty emails — and had sex with him — well after he supposedly attacked them.

The hard-charging and phenomenally successful movie executive helped bring to the screen such Oscar winners as “Good Will Hunting,” “Pulp Fiction," “The King's Speech” and “Shakespeare in Love” and nurtured the careers of celebrated filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith.

Weinstein now faces charges in Los Angeles. In that case, announced just as the New York trial was getting under way on Jan. 6, authorities allege Weinstein raped one woman and sexually assaulted another on back-to-back nights during Oscars week in 2013. One of those women testified as a supporting witness at the New York trial.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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