Former Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty on Monday of two of the five charges relating to sexual assaults after a five-day jury deliberation in Manhattan, New York City.
Weinstein, 67, was found guilty of committing a criminal sex act for assaulting a production assistant in his apartment in 2006 and was also found guilty of the third-degree rape of another woman in 2013.
Weinstein was found not guilty on the most serious charge of predatory sexual assault – which could have resulted in a life sentence. Additionally, he was ordered back to jail immediately following the conviction.
Although Weinstein was convicted on two of the charges against him, many believe the former Miramax studio head could have been found guilty on the more serious predatory sexual assault charge had prosecutors been able to prove Weinstein’s conduct was “repetitive” or forceful – which can be difficult to justify given the jury heard the testimony of various women who stated they were sexually assaulted over an extended period of time.
“The verdict indicates that the jury found the witnesses and their testimony credible but were either not convinced that the state proved that Mr. Weinstein’s conduct was repetitive,” criminal defense attorney Falen Cox – who was not involved with the case – told Fox News on Monday. “Most likely, the jurors compromised and agreed to convict for the offenses that they’d already indicated reaching a unanimous decision, and acquit on the charges they could not agree on.”
The jury of seven men and five women handed down the verdict on Monday after five days of deliberating.
“The jurors indicated, prior to the verdict, that they could not reach a unanimous verdict on the most serious charges, indicating that at least some jurors didn’t believe the state proved those counts beyond a reasonable doubt,” Cox continued. “In those instances, where not all jurors believe the state has carried its burden — it is the individual juror’s duty to acquit. Jury deliberations often result in compromise — it is difficult to get 12 people to unanimously agree.”
Cox noted that it isn’t uncommon for jurors on one side, or the other, of a verdict to persuade other members of the jury to change their minds, adding that the overall point of a jury is to be open to considering the points of other jurors through examining and re-examining the evidence presented to the court.