Weinstein guilty in #Metoo case featuring S.I. prosecutor
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Now-infamous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted Monday of criminal sex act and third-degree rape in a historic case prosecuted by lifelong Staten Islander Joan Illuzzi-Orbon.
The conviction comes after several accusations of sexual misconduct that ended Weinstein's career and gave rise to the #MeToo movement, encouraging women to come forward and hold powerful men accountable for misconduct.
The jury found him not guilty on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault, that could have resulted in a life sentence.
The case against Weinstein was built on three allegations: That he raped an aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013, that he forcibly performed oral sex on production assistant Mimi Haleyi and that he raped and forcibly performed oral sex on "Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra in her apartment in the mid-1990s.
Weinstein did not testify, and his lawyers contended that any sexual contact was consensual and that his accusers went to bed with him to advance their careers.
The jury of seven men and five women took five days to find him guilty.
Illuzzi-Orbon of Grasmere was appointed as lead prosecutor of the case last year by the Manhattan district attorney, nearly half a year into the law-enforcement investigation.
The 57-year-old attorney isn't new to the national spotlight.
- In 2015, she campaigned as a Republican against Democrat Michael E. McMahon for Richmond County district attorney. At the time, she spoke to the Advance about growing up with her siblings in Midland Beach, where her family provided the nativity scene at St. Margaret Mary's R.C. Church. for about 50 years.
- In 2016, she was in the national spotlight again as senior trial counsel in the Manhattan D.A.'s office, when she prosecuted the kidnapping and killing of 6-year-old Etan Patz. After an initial mistrial, a second jury issued a guilty verdict for the defendant, Pedro Hernandez, who was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
In a previous interview with the Advance, she said her philosophy as a prosecutor was to make sure she was convinced a defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt "before I would walk into a courtroom and ask 12 people to decide if somebody was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
Weinstein now faces charges in Los Angeles, in which authorities allege he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another on back-to-back nights during Oscars week in 2013.
One of those women testified as a supporting witness at the New York trial.-- Associated Press material was used in this report
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