Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein convicted of third and first degree rape
A court in New York convicted 67 years old Weinstein of third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act. But was cleared of the most serious count of predatory sexual assault.
Weinstein faces up to 25 years in prison over the guilty verdicts relating to two women. His lawyers say he will appeal.
“I’m innocent. How can this happen in America?” Weinstein’s lawyer Arthur Aidala quoted his client as saying.
The former movie executive still faces charges in Los Angeles of assaulting two women in 2013.
In all, at least 80 women had accused him of sexual misconduct stretching back decades, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman and Salma Hayek.
The allegations were at the centre of the #MeToo movement that prompted women to go public with misconduct allegations against powerful men.
Weinstein once enjoyed phenomenal success with Oscar winners such Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, The King’s Speech and Shakespeare in Love.
He was taken to New York’s Bellevue Hospital reportedly suffering from chest pains after the verdict was announced.
Meanwhile his Accusers, Actress Rose McGowan welcomed the guilty verdicts in the rape and sexual assault case against Weinstein saying “this is a great day”, while others said the ruling brought hope to victims that their voices would be heard.
The jury of seven men and five women reached their verdict on Monday morning, the fifth day of deliberations.
Weinstein –though denied all charges – was convicted of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping Jessica Mann, a former aspiring actress, in 2013. The judge ordered him to be sent to jail immediately.