Harvey Weinstein Has Been Convicted of Rape — Now What?

Harvey Weinstein

WARNING: This article contains information about sexual assault which may be triggering to survivors.

On February 25 2020, Harvey Weinstein was taken into custody after being found guilty of two felony sex crimes, after a trial at which six women testified that he sexually assualted them.

Weinstein was found guilty of two counts — criminal sexual act in the first degree, and rape in the third degree — following a nearly seven-week trial.

The former film producer was acquitted of three other counts, including the most serious — predatory sexual assault.

As the judgment was read, the 67-year-old repeated “But, I’m innocent,” to his lawyers before being handcuffed and led out of court.

While it was originally thought that he was taken to a jail cell, CNN confirmed that he was not sent straight to Rikers Island prison, but taken to a locked unit at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after experiencing heart palpitations and high blood pressure.

Now that he has been convicted, what happens next?

When Will the Sentencing Take Place and What Do His Charges Mean?

Once Weinstein is well enough, he will be sent to the hospital wing (infirmary) at Rikers Island, to await his sentencing on March 11 2020.

Since he has been convicted of a “sexual act in the first degree”, he is facing a minimum of five to 25 years in prison.

Sexual Act in the First Degree 

In the state of New York, a person is guilty of a criminal sexual act in the first degree when he or she engages in oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct with another person: 1. By forcible compulsion; or 2. Who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless.

It is classed as a B felony

The second conviction, rape in the third degree, has no minimum prison sentence, but has a maximum of four years.

Rape in the Third Degree

A person is guilty of rape in the third degree when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person:

  • Who is incapable of consent by reason of some factor other than being less than 17 years old;
  • Who is less than 17 years old, and the defendant is 21 years old or more; or
  • Without such a person’s consent, which is withheld for some other reason than incapacity to consent.

Justice James Burke, who presided over Weinstein’s case, has the ability to determine the maximum sentence, with both Weinstein’s lawyers and the prosecutors submitting their arguments on what that they believe the sentence should be.

According to Vulture, criminal-defence attorney Robert Gotlieb, probation officers will prepare a “pre-sentence report” for the Judge to consider.

The report is “really just to assist the judge, along with all the other written submissions, in determining the most appropriate sentence,” he said.

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein arrives in court on February 24 2020. Getty Images.

Harvey Weinstein Is Still to be Tried in Los Angeles

On January 6, Los Angeles prosecutors told news outlets that they were investigating eight allegations against Weinstein, with three of them outside the statute of limitations, however, they were continuing an investigation to three more.

On January 26 2020, Los Angeles district attorney  Jackie Lacey announced that Weinstein had been charged with four more counts of sexual misconduct, involving two separate women over a two-day period in 2013. It was alleged that he raped one of the women and sexually assaulted another over a two-day period.

He was charged with one count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, and sexual penetration by use of force for allegedly pushing his way into a woman’s hotel room.

He was also charged with sexual battery by restraint.

Weinstein has not yet been arraigned (brought before a court to answer a criminal charge), however, a spokesperson told Vulture that: “Mr. Weinstein would not be brought back to Los Angeles until after he was sentenced.”  They are now proceeding.

Weinstein Can Appeal His Conviction

Weinstein’s lawyers have said that they plan to appeal the conviction, and “post-verdict motions” can be filed before sentencing is given.

This also includes an appeal against Weinstein being held before he is sentenced at a state appeals court called the Appellate Division, First Judicial Department.

According to a criminal defence lawyer, Murray Richman, there is a “strong likelihood that bail pending appeal would be granted… because of the nature of the charges, the fact of the man’s age, and the fact of the man’s health conditions, and the man’s likelihood of not running.”

Weinstein Still Faces Civil Lawsuits Against Him

In December 2019, the New York Times revealed that Weinstein’s now inoperative Weinstein Company, had agreed to a $USD 25 million tentative settlement after more than 30 women accused him of sexual assault.

While it has still not been finalised, the tentative settlement is expected to give $USD 6.2 million to 18 accusers in the US, United Kingdom, and Canada with the rest, to class-action participants and accusers who have not come forward.

His conviction should not impact any money he has to pay.

If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual or physical violence, please call 1800-RESPECT, a national telephone support line or find more support services HERE.

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