‘How Can This Happen in America?’ Harvey Weinstein Says of His Verdict
Harvey Weinstein showed no visible emotion as he heard the guilty verdicts read out in his sexual assault trial, but his lawyers said he was reeling.
“Moments after the verdict, he was just saying, ‘But I’m innocent, I’m innocent, I’m innocent. How can this happen in America?’” defense attorney Arthur Aidala said after court on Monday. “I put my hand on him and I said, ‘Harvey, it’s gonna be OK.’”
The disgraced 67-year-old movie producer, who was led away in handcuffs, was convicted in New York state court of third-degree rape and a criminal sexual act for attacks on two women trying to make it in the film industry. He was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault that could have resulted in a life sentence.
Aidala said the defense team would seek to have Weinstein released while he waits for his sentencing on March 11 and would appeal his conviction afterward.
Just before the verdict, Aidala said, Weinstein turned to his lawyers and said, “Thank you. No matter what happens, thank you.” Of his client’s mood Monday morning ahead of the verdict, Aidala said, “He understood what was going on, he was functioning, he was reading. We were all very distracted and concentrated on what the outcomes might be.”
Even after a pair of court officers led him away — one on each arm, his walker left behind — Weinstein was full of gratitude for his attorneys as they gathered with him in a holding cell in the Lower Manhattan courthouse, Aidala said.
“He said, ‘Thank you all. I know you worked hard,’” Aidala said. “We just gave him the confidence that no one’s giving up.”
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— With assistance by Olivia Rockeman, and Olivia Raimonde
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