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Weinstein verdict: Jurors took women's harrowing testimony to heart

James Queally and Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

NEW YORK -- To some legal experts, the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial came down to one question jurors would have to sort out.

Would the panel believe the emotional testimony of women who said the movie mogul abused them, or would the testimony be colored by the praise and attention some of the women later gave Weinstein?

In the end, the jurors appeared swayed by the women's accusations.

The jury found Weinstein guilty of one count of rape and one count of committing a criminal sexual act, with each crime connected to individual allegations made by accusers Mimi Haley and Jessica Mann. He was acquitted on the two most serious charges of predatory sexual assault, which each carried a potential life sentence.

It marks a victory for prosecutors, who took pains to show that the contact the women had after the attacks should not affect the credibility of their statements.

The prosecutors repeatedly reminded jurors that rape can occur within otherwise consensual and committed relationships.

 

-- What did Haley and Mann say in court?

Haley, a former production assistant on the Weinstein Co.-produced reality TV show "Project Runway," said she first met the mogul at the premiere of "The Aviator" in 2004. Haley said the two had an awkward interaction at the Cannes Film Festival, where he requested a massage.

Not wanting anything more than a professional relationship with Weinstein, Haley said, she left.

Weinstein, however, would not relent, she alleged. He helped her land a job on "Project Runway" in New York, but also repeatedly asked her to travel to Paris with him for a fashion show, at one point showing up at her apartment uninvited, trying to persuade her to take the trip, she said. He refused to leave until Haley made a joke about how Weinstein had "a terrible reputation with women," which seemed to offend him, she testified.

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