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Breaking Down the Law: What Harvey Weinstein's confusing verdict means

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Harvey Weinsten was recently convicted of sex crimes in New York. He was convicted on two out of five counts against him, and is scheduled for sentencing on March 11.

Weinstein’s attorneys vow to appeal the convictions, but he's also facing charges in Los Angeles, though that trial date hasn't been set yet.

He was convicted of First Degree Criminal Sexual Act against Ms. Haley. That’s 5-25 years in prison. The conviction says he performed a forced sexual act, but not sexual intercourse. He was also convicted of Third Degree Rape against Ms. Mann. That’s only 0-5 years in prison.

So, he is facing 5-25 years in prison for a forced sexual act that was not intercourse, but only 0-5 years for actual intercourse without consent – a strange result given the degree of sexual acts involved.

RELATED | Weinstein case could influence other sex crime prosecutions

What’s interesting is what he was acquitted of: Predatory Sexual Assault.

Predatory Sexual Assault requires similar acts against two or more victims, so they brought two counts by combining the allegations of Annabella Sciorra and both Ms. Haley and Ms. Mann.

The fact they acquitted him of Predatory Sexual Assault essentially means they did not find Ms. Sciorra to be credible.

They also found Weinstein guilty of 3rd degree rape (sexual act without consent) against Ms. Mann but not 1st degree (i.e. physical force or threat of physical force).

It is a bit of an odd, confusing result when you look at what he was charged with.

His attorneys have vowed to appeal, and there are always technical reasons to seek appeal. But in this case, the actual verdict sheet is what I believe will be a big issue, particularly given the result.

The verdict sheet is incredibly confusing, and this was obvious from the jurors’ questions during deliberations, where they asked if they could be hung on the predatory sexual assault charges if they had reached a unanimous decision on the other charges. This suggests the jury may have believed they had to find him guilty on what they did in order to acquit him on the predatory sexual assault charges.

It will be interesting to see where things go on appeal.

In Los Angeles, he faces rape and sexual assault against two women for events that allegedly occurred in 2013. This means that Weinstein faces the possibility of another 28 years in prison if convicted.

Unlike the New York case, the victims in the Los Angeles case did not maintain any relationship or communications with Weinstein after the alleged incidents. Weinstein is 67, so it is very likely that, regardless of the Los Angeles trial, that he will spend the rest of his natural life in prison.

On a related local note, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has announced an expansion of its SafeNest Program for rape victims.

It’s a wonderful program started in 2017 – LVMPD works with volunteers, who provide victims of rape and domestic violence confidential shelter, counseling, court representation, and help getting emergency protective orders.

Volunteers must complete 21 hours of training and 20 hours of shadowing the 24-hour hotline, as well as additional specialized training and work 3-4 shifts per month.

It started at only one Command Center in town, but is now being expanded to all 10 Metro Command Centers. It has been crucial in helping reduce repeat domestic violence, and helps guide victims of sexual assault to the right resources.

https://news3lv.com/news/local/breaking-down-the-law-nevadas-safe-haven-laws-02-26-2020

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