LOS ANGELES, Dec 21 — Fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein said yesterday he would appeal a new rape conviction that could see him jailed for up to 18 years.
The 70-year-old former producer, who is already serving prison time for other assaults, was found guilty in Los Angeles this week of attacking a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel room a decade ago, in a trial that heard how he used his power in Hollywood to sexually assault actresses, believing he would never be brought to book.
He was cleared of another charge, and a mistrial was declared on three more.
But the Oscar winner said yesterday he would challenge the guilty verdicts.
“Harvey is obviously disappointed in the verdict. He knows what happened and what never did,” Weinstein spokesperson, Juda Engelmayer, said in a statement to AFP.
“However, the account of Jane Doe #1 has a strong legal basis for an appeal, as the logistics of the time and location of the alleged incident make no sense.
“Harvey is grateful for the jury’s work on the other counts and he’s determined to continue his legal challenges in ultimately proving his innocence.”
On Monday after two weeks of deliberation, the Los Angeles jury convicted him of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by a foreign object.
The eight men and four women on the panel acquitted him of one charge of sexual battery by restraint involving another woman.
They did not reach a verdict on charges relating to the alleged assaults of two other women, one of whom was identified by her lawyers as Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Weinstein, who was once one of the most powerful people in the movie industry, is due to be sentenced on January 9, and could face up to 18 years.
The jury yesterday was unable to reach a verdict on aggravating factors that could have increased that sentence to 24 years.
Whatever sentence is imposed will be in addition to the 23 years jail he was given after being convicted of sex crimes in New York, convictions he is appealing.
Jane Doe #1 on Monday welcomed the verdicts, saying she hopes he “never sees the outside of a prison cell during his lifetime.”
“Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night in 2013 and I will never get that back,” the woman said in a statement.
A weeks-long trial heard graphic descriptions of encounters between the once-powerful producer and women who were trying to make their way in the world of movies.
Prosecutors painted a picture of a predatory ogre, who for years used his physical size and his professional prowess to rape and abuse women with impunity.
His victims were left terrorized and afraid for their careers if they spoke out against a man who dominated Tinseltown, prosecutors said.
Rumours of Weinstein’s impropriety had circulated in Hollywood for years, but his position at the apex of the industry meant few were prepared to challenge him.
That all changed in 2017 with the publication of bombshell allegations against him, ushering in the #MeToo movement and opening the floodgates for women to speak out against sexual violence in the workplace.
Dozens of women have since alleged they were victims of Weinstein. — AFP