When John wrote about a potential deadlock in the jury trial of noted pervert Harvey Weinstein, he appeared to reach the conclusion that Weinstein might be convicted on three charges but not on the two most serious ones. For my part, I still saw a path where he might just get off scot-free. The truth turned out to be somewhere in-between. Despite potential procedural errors in the verdict sheet given to the jury and plenty of confusion, the jurors managed to find him guilty of two lesser charges. (NBC News)
A New York jury has found former Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein guilty of third-degree rape in the case of Jessica Mann and guilty of first-degree sexual assault in the case of Mimi Haley, acquitting him of the two most serious counts of predatory sex assault.
Those two counts of predatory sex assault, which would have required 12-member jury to find Weinstein guilty of attacking both “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra and Mann or both Sciorra and Haley, appeared to be a point of contention late last week. As the fourth day of deliberations wrapped up Friday, the jury sent the judge a note asking if they could be deadlocked on those two counts. The judge said no, and refused the defense’s request for a partial verdict.
When we say “lesser charges” it doesn’t mean that they aren’t serious. The cretin was still convicted of rape in the 3rd degree and first-degree sexual assault. But he dodged convictions on predatory sex assault which could have carried a life sentence. He also didn’t get convicted of rape in the first degree.
Still, when you consider Weinstein’s age and health issues, it may wind up being a life sentence anyway. In theory, the judge could give him as much as 25 years on the sexual assault charge and four more years on the rape charge if the two sentences are ordered to be served consecutively. But that would be so far outside the normal sentences for third-degree rape and sexual assault for someone with no prior convictions that it seems highly unlikely he’ll get anywhere near that much.
Also, he’ll be able to appeal the conviction, so this story is probably far from over.
This might have concluded sooner if it weren’t for the weirdness involving the details on the verdict sheet given to the jury. (The Associated Press described the verdict sheet as “a complex set of instructions that read like an income tax return.”) The jurors were instructed to first consider charges 1 and 3, the most serious ones involving Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra and Miriam Haley. But the instructions they were given only said what to do if they arrived at a G (guilty) or NG (not guilty) on each charge. If guilty, they didn’t need to bother with the other three charges. If not guilty, they were to move on and consider charges 2, 4 and 5.
But there were no instructions given as to what to do if they were hung on 1 and 3. Lacking instructions as to how to proceed, at least some legal analysts had concluded that the jury could have concluded their work was done and sent back no result to the judge. That outcome was apparently avoided, however, with further clarification and instructions from the judge.
I’m sure there are people out there who will upset that he didn’t wind up getting a life sentence on the biggest charges, but that was always going to be a difficult case to make. He’s likely going to wind up doing at least some time behind bars and he’s been pronounced guilty of sex crimes by a jury of his peers. That’s probably the best that could be hoped for.
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