Harvey Weinstein taken to hospital after guilty verdict

Harvey Weinstein has been taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after complaining of chest pains.

The disgraced movie mogul was supposed to be transferred to the jail on Rikers Island, but was diverted to Bellevue, his representative has confirmed.

Weinstein was remanded into custody on Monday morning after a jury convicted him on charges of sexual assault and third-degree rape.

Bellevue is known for its psychiatric facility, but it also serves as a hospital for jail inmates.

It comes just hours after the Oscar-winning producer was convicted on two of five sexual assault charges, capping off a high profile rape trial in New York, US.

After five days of deliberations, a jury today found Weinstein, 67, guilty of raping an aspiring actress in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman, TV and film production assistant Mimi Haleyi, in 2006.

He is facing up to 29 years behind bars and will be sentenced on March 11.

Weinstein, 67, was convicted of first degree sexual assault and third degree rape. The first charge carries a sentence of 5-25 years in prison and the second carries a minimum probationary period and a maximum four year jail term. .

Weinstein's lawyer Arthur Aidala told reporters his team will appeal the decision.

He was acquitted of rape in the first degree and on the top two top charges of predatory sexual assault.

The latter charges were particularly complex, requiring prosecutors to prove that Weinstein attacked at least two different victims, and carry a maximum life prison sentence.

Outside court, lead defence lawyer Donna Rutonna told news.com.au "the fight is not over".

District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. described Weinstein as a "vicious, serial sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault and trick, humiliate and silence his victims".

 

 

 

 

Weinstein - who has maintained that any sexual contact with his accusers was consensual - remained silent as he was handcuffed and taken into custody inside the courtroom. He didn't respond to questions from news.com.au when he arrived at the New York court on Monday morning local time.

 

 

 

Mimi Haleyi arrives to testify in Harvey Weinstein's trial on January 27 in New York. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan.
Mimi Haleyi arrives to testify in Harvey Weinstein's trial on January 27 in New York. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan.

 

Actress Annabella Sciorra returns to court after a lunch break in Harvey Weinstein's rape trial on January 23 in New York. Picture: AP Photo/Richard Drew.
Actress Annabella Sciorra returns to court after a lunch break in Harvey Weinstein's rape trial on January 23 in New York. Picture: AP Photo/Richard Drew.

On Friday, the jury hinted it was struggling to reach a unanimous decision on the two most serious charges of predatory sexual assault. The 12 jurors asked New York state Judge James Burke whether it was permissable for the panel to be hung on one or both of the top counts but unanimous on the three lesser charges before they were dismissed for the weekend.

Since deliberations began, jurors asked to review testimonies and cross-examination heard throughout the trial.

During deliberations, jurors examined Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra's account of a mid-1990s rape in considering charges alleging Weinstein is a sexual predator, even though the allegation is too old to be charged on its own due to the statute of limitations in effect at the time.

Sciorra's account was the basis for two counts of predatory sexual assault, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. To convict Weinstein of that charge, jurors needed to agree on two things: that Weinstein raped Sciorra and that he committed one of the other charged offences.

 

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In often emotional testimony stretching over three weeks, Weinstein's accusers described in lurid detail how he lured them to hotels in New York and Los Angeles on the pretence of promoting their acting careers before sexually assaulting them. A total of six accusers testified as part of a prosecution effort to show he used the same tactics to victimise many others over the years.

 

 

 

A torrent of allegations against Weinstein in October 2017 spawned the #MeToo movement.

In total, more than 80 women have accused the father-of-five of sexual misconduct dating back decades. Most of the accusers, who refer to themselves as "the Silence Breakers", weren't involved in his prosecution. But all of them share similar stories and had their hopes pinned on an eventual guilty verdict.

His trial was considered a watershed moment for the cause and has been watched closely by #MeToo activists, many of whom doubted for years that Weinstein's alleged mistreatment of women would ever result in legal action.

But Judge James Burke last week cautioned jurors that it was "not a referendum on the (hash)MeToo movement".

 

 

 

The defence countered on cross-examination by confronting some with warm emails and other communications with Weinstein that continued for months or even years after the alleged attacks.

The jury heard about emails in which the victim of the alleged rape wrote to Weinstein afterwards to accept party invitations from him, give him new phone numbers and even express gratitude.

One read: "I feel so fabulous and beautiful, thank you for everything."

The court also heard the testimony of a friend and former roommate of the same accuser who said she never heard the woman say anything bad about the defendant. Instead, the woman once called Weinstein her "spiritual soulmate," the witness said.

In her closing argument Friday, Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said that Weinstein treated the women who accused him like "complete disposables" and made them feel ashamed even though he was the one who was at fault.

"What he wants to do is he wants to get them in a situation where they feel stupid. If you feel stupid and belittled, belittled, stupid people do not complain," the prosecutor told jurors.

 

 

THE DOWNFALL OF A MOVIE MOGIL

Weinstein once wielded so much power in Tinseltown that at the height of his success Meryl Streep described him as "God". But the disgraced film executive is arguably now best known for his downfall which sparked the global #MeToo movement and is more commonly referred to by Hollywood's elite in less flattering terms.

Rosanna Arquette and Rose McGowan - two of Weinstein's most prominent accusers - gathered outside court on day one of his trial in a show of solidarity along with other women who say they were also assaulted by Weinstein.

Arquette, 60, who says she went to a hotel to get a script from Weinstein in the 1990s when he answered the door in his dressing gown and pulled her hand toward his crotch, described him as "a very broken man".

McGowan, 46, who accused Weinstein of raping her when she was 23 and later reached a $US100,000 ($AU143,000) settlement with him, was sceptical about the authenticity of his feeble appearance.

"I think he's taken some good acting tips," she told reporters.

 

 

'SILENCE IS A DEATH SENTENCE TO YOUR SOUL'

McGowan said she has found her voice by speaking out against him for the sake of justice.

"I've expelled most of my rage which is great," the Scream actress said.

"Living in silence is a death sentence to your soul.

"Because when you get killed by being raped you carry around that dead person inside of you until you can find a way to birth it.

"And for me birthing that was through using my voice … today I can be free."

In the US, less than one per cent of rape trials end up in felony convictions, according to the Department of Justice. So what if Weinstein is acquitted?

"That would be an awesome day … just kidding," McGowan told news.com.au.

Television journalist Lauren Sivan alleged that more than a decade ago Weinstein cornered her in the hallway of a New York restaurant and proceeded to masturbate in front of her by a potted plant. Ms Sivan said that if Weinstein is acquitted and rebuilds his career it would be "like a paedophile … go(ing) back to coaching little league".

"This is a dangerous predator," she told news.com.au.

"Even if he is acquitted in this trial, let's hope that he's never able to go back to what he was doing."

WeIinstein is also scheduled to face trial in Los Angeles, where he is charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents in 2013. He has not yet entered a plea in that case.

 

megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin



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