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Westlake Legal Group > sexual harassment

With Weinstein Conviction, Jury Delivers a Verdict on #MeToo

Westlake Legal Group 00assessweinsteinconvict-facebookJumbo With Weinstein Conviction, Jury Delivers a Verdict on #MeToo Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes Decisions and Verdicts #MeToo Movement

The criminal case against Harvey Weinstein was a long shot.

Many of his accusers were bracing for an acquittal. Fellow prosecutors across the country were quietly questioning whether the New York district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., had made a mistake by bringing charges.

But by pushing the boundaries of sex-crimes prosecutions, the Manhattan prosecutors delivered what many people declared a victory for the global movement against sexual misconduct that Mr. Weinstein’s actions had helped ignite.

“It’s a perfect test case of what happens when a culture begins to shift,” said Deborah Tuerkheimer, a law professor at Northwestern.

Along the way, one accuser had to be dropped from the case amid allegations of police misconduct. The central victims acknowledged having had consensual sex with the Hollywood producer after being attacked by him, and one had an intimate relationship with him that stretched for several years. Prosecutors almost never try cases in those circumstances, deeming them too messy to win convictions. At every turn, Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers argued he was a victim of the #MeToo movement gone too far.

The jury’s verdict was ultimately mixed. Mr. Weinstein was acquitted of two counts of predatory sexual assault, the most serious charges against him. The jury had suggested on Friday that it was deadlocked on those counts.

[Follow our live coverage and updates of the Weinstein trial verdict.]

“This wasn’t ‘Believe all women,’ and certainly not ‘Believe everything women are saying,’” said Isabelle Kirshner, a former Manhattan prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer, who has represented men accused of sexual assault. “ It looks like they were fairly careful on what they decided.”

But prosecutors persuaded the jury to convict on two felony sexual assault charges — which could send him to prison for up to 29 years — suggesting that accountability stretches from the court of public opinion to the court of criminal law.

On Monday, some of Mr. Weinstein’s more than 90 accusers, and others around the world, reacted to the verdict with relief, tears and gratitude that the law had spoken for them.

“For so long these women believed that he was untouchable and could never be held responsible, but now the criminal justice system has found him guilty,” said Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement. “That sends a powerful message.”

[Ashley Judd and other Weinstein accusers spoke to The Times about the verdict.]

The #MeToo movement helped propel the prosecution. Mr. Vance, the district attorney had drawn criticism for failing to prosecute Mr. Weinstein in 2015 after an Italian model complained to the police that the producer had grabbed her breasts and tried to force his hand up her skirt. And some of Mr. Weinstein’s accusers who had not previously gone to the police were then willing to participate in the criminal justice process if it meant supporting and protecting other women.

“I just wanted to add my voice in support, and share my experience with the hopes of helping anyone else who was” victimized, Miriam Haley, a former production assistant, said on the witness stand.

“I did it for all of us,” Dawn Dunning, who served as a supporting witness in the trial, said in an interview on Monday. “I did it for the women who couldn’t testify. I couldn’t not do it.”

Joan Illuzzi, the lead prosecutor, did not have much by way of forensic evidence or direct witnesses to prove wrongdoing. Instead, her team strove to establish a pattern of predation, putting four additional women on the stand who told similar stories of rape or abuse by Mr. Weinstein. Those types of supporting witnesses had proved crucial in the successful prosecution of Bill Cosby in 2018. In the Weinstein trial, they provided testimony that was much larger than the sum of its parts, reflecting the collective power of women’s voices at the core of #MeToo.

For decades Mr. Weinstein used high-priced lawyers and secret settlements to silence women with allegations of sexual misconduct against him. But during the trial, which began in early January, he was the one who could not speak. On the advice of his lawyers, he did not take the stand. Instead, he listened as six women testified about what they said he had done to them.

Many of the women described being humiliated by the producer. As they spoke, Mr. Weinstein often appeared humiliated. At one point, as one accuser, Jessica Mann, described his genitals, Mr. Weinstein hung his head.

To counter the allegations, Mr. Weinstein and his legal team drummed home the message that #MeToo had spun out of control.

On the day of his arrest, he walked into a TriBeCa precinct house carrying a biography of Elia Kazan, the Hollywood director who became a victim of McCarthyism. He switched counsel several times, finally setting on Donna Rotunno, a Chicago lawyer who framed much of her defense as a broader attack on #MeToo. She argued that Mr. Weinstein’s sexual encounters were consensual, that his accusers were lying to achieve celebrity status, that women weren’t taking responsibility for their safety, and that men were the true victims and the movement had robbed them of their fundamental rights.

In an interview with “The Daily,” Ms. Rotunno asserted that she had never been a victim of sexual assault because she had never put herself “in that position.”

In her closing argument, she criticized what she said was “a universe that strips adult women of common sense, autonomy and responsibility.”

But the jury appears to have rejected those arguments. The Weinstein verdict could prove a symbolic turning point, legal experts said, showing that sex crimes don’t necessarily follow neat scripts and reshaping public beliefs about which victims deserve their day in court.

The verdict provides hope that we can “have a criminal justice system that reflects the reality of sexual violence,” said Fatima Goss Graves, the president of the National Women’s Law Center.

Mr. Weinstein’s legal team has already said it will appeal the convictions, of rape and criminal sexual act. The producer also faces a separate criminal prosecution in Los Angeles, where he has been charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another.

Jane Manning, a former Queens prosecutor and founder of the Women’s Equal Justice Project, said she hoped the Weinstein case would inspire other prosecutors around the country to pursue similarly challenging cases.

“That’s how to cultivate the skill set to try them successfully,” she said. “We need prosecutors to show courage.”

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Harvey Weinstein Is Gone, but Hollywood Is Still a Man’s World

Westlake Legal Group 24weinstein-hollywood-1-facebookJumbo Harvey Weinstein Is Gone, but Hollywood Is Still a Man’s World Workplace Environment Women and Girls Weinstein, Harvey Time's Up Shaw, Nina L (1954- ) sexual harassment Sex Crimes Salke, Jennifer SAG-AFTRA Rosenberg, Melissa (1962- ) Jacobson, Nina (1965- ) DuVernay, Ava discrimination #MeToo Movement

LOS ANGELES — In Hollywood, director jobs are no longer automatically filled by white men. Television writers’ room have made diversity and inclusion top priorities. Human resources departments at major media corporations are more responsive when complaints are filed. Intimacy coordinators, who introduce physical consent considerations into the artistic process, are now normal on productions featuring sexual content.

It has been nearly two and a half years since the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein burst into public view, and much is different in Hollywood.

But the entertainment industry has been doing things a certain way for decades, and not every aspect of it has been quick to change. Even as Mr. Weinstein was found guilty on Monday of two felony sex crimes, Hollywood largely remains a man’s world.

Take the Oscars, moviedom’s ultimate show of power and prestige. For the ninth time in 10 years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences did not nominate a woman for best director in 2020. Only one of the 20 acting nominations went to a person of color. And with the exception of “Parasite” and “Little Women,” the majority of the films honored by the Academy — “The Irishman,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and “Joker” — were portraits of white men directed by prominent white auteurs.

“I hear people saying a lot of things they hadn’t said before: that inclusion matters, that they understand the need for representation, that they believe in diverse people and perspectives being centered,” the writer and director Ava DuVernay said. “But saying it and doing it aren’t parallel tracks.”

One group of high-powered women in town maintains a running list of the white men who keep rising up the executive ladder while the women stay at least one step below. Jennifer Salke, for instance, became the head of Amazon Studios in 2018 after her predecessor, Roy Price, was accused of sexual harassment. But the former Sony executive Mike Hopkins was brought in last month to oversee Amazon’s video entertainment business. Ms. Salke reports to him and he reports to Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder.

It is unlikely that accused harassers like Brett Ratner, James Toback, Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer will return to the public eye anytime soon. (Those men, and Mr. Weinstein, have denied any allegations of nonconsensual sex.)

But many in town remain frustrated by those who were accused of improprieties — or who worked closely with those who were — and have been allowed to return to work. Case in point: John Lasseter, who was removed from his position as the creative chief of Pixar after acknowledging misbehavior in 2018, landed a top job at Skydance Animation last year. The former Weinstein Company partners David Glasser and Bob Weinstein, Harvey’s brother, have each formed new production companies. Mr. Glasser raised some $300 million in financing from partners such as Ron Burkle, and has become a fixture on the festival circuit.

“No matter how much things are shifting in the right direction, when you get to the top of these media companies, you will usually find a white dude,” said Nina Jacobson, a veteran producer and the former president of Disney’s Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group. “The power behind the power is still white and male, and in terms of truly passing the torch in corporate life, the torch has not yet been passed.”

On the whole, Hollywood has become a more inclusive place. It has been helped by the rise of streaming services, which have a seemingly insatiable need for more content that appeals to new and diverse audiences. Women and people of color have been finding their voices through organizations like Time’s Up and ReFrame, which have transformed the issues of gender and racial equality from tired buzzwords into vital, concrete paths to addressing the imbalanced power structures that some blame for allowing abusers like Mr. Weinstein to flourish.

“I think that the very small group of people that are waiting for things to even out and go back to the status quo need to realize that’s never going to happen,” said Nina Shaw, an entertainment lawyer and a co-founder of Time’s Up. “But we also need to figure out a way forward.”

Last summer, as the showrunner Melissa Rosenberg began developing a pilot for HBO Max based on the prequel to the 1998 film “Practical Magic,” she noticed stark changes in corporate attitudes.

Mr. Weinstein’s brother, Bob, has formed a new production company.Credit…David Walter Banks for The New York Times So has David Glasser, a former Weinstein Company partner.Credit…David Walter Banks for The New York Times

“There were very specific intentions from the studio and the network to have diverse voices in the room,” said Ms. Rosenberg, who created the Netflix show “Jessica Jones” and was an executive producer for “Dexter.” She added that she had been told, “You will not have a room without people of color and diversity of gender and sexual orientation.”

“That was a big change,” Ms. Rosenberg said. “When I was coming up it would be sufficient to have one woman in the room — to represent the female voice — and she was often the lowest-paid writer, too.”

Today’s issue in television is one of supply. Rarely are episodic series staffed with an all-male director slate, unless the show’s creator opts to direct each episode. More frequently, women are landing directing gigs.

With so many shows being produced, there aren’t enough women to fill the demand. “The problem now is a pipeline problem,” Ms. Shaw said.

Mark Gill, who was president of Miramax Los Angeles when Harvey Weinstein ran the company, was the only man to speak out in the New York Times article in 2017 that first chronicled Mr. Weinstein’s abuse. He said then that the company “was a mess” but that Mr. Weinstein’s treatment of women “was the biggest mess of all,” a quote that drew the ire of his male colleagues when it was published.

“I got a ton of blowback,” Mr. Gill said in a recent interview. “It was sort of a violation of the code. Several people actually said to me, ‘You’ve just blown your career.’”

Mr. Gill has since started a production company with $400 million in financing and a staff that is divided equally between genders. “Of course, it turned out to be the exact opposite,” he said of the warnings he received. “It turned out to be a recruiting advantage.”

Hollywood has marked its intention to adapt with the formation of support organizations. These include Time’s Up, the celebrity-fueled group that in addition to condemning sexual harassment has formed a legal-defense fund to help connect women of various industries to lawyers, and ReFrame, an organization run by Women in Film and the Sundance Institute with the goal of achieving gender parity in the entertainment industry. Women in Film also started an independent help line for anyone who has been harassed or abused to call to be connected with pro bono lawyers or therapists.

“Women have less trepidation about helping each other, networking with each other, being vulnerable with each other,” said the producer Amy Baer, the board president of Women in Film. “I think this is a direct result of #MeToo and women realizing that there’s strength in numbers and in having each other’s backs, much the way the boys’ network has worked for decades.”

The SAG-AFTRA actors’ union has turned the job of intimacy coordinator, a profession that began on theater stages, into a cottage industry inside Hollywood. And it has developed a set of guidelines and protocols for how the coordinators are integrated into sets.

“It’s been an interesting process,” said the actress Gabrielle Carteris, who is president of the union. She worked closely with actors, directors, writers and the coordinators over the past two years to determine the protocol that was released in January.

“When you think about the Harvey period from a few years ago, people felt like they had no control,” Ms. Carteris said. “There was no structure. Now people are saying: ‘I can do this work. This is amazing.’ I think this moment is a step towards cultural change.”

Still, systemic transformation is slow. According to a 2019 study from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, only 17 percent of executive positions in major media companies were held by women, with only four of the women coming from underrepresented groups. Producing stats are equally dismal, with just 18 percent of producers on films between 2016 and 2018 being women. (Only 11 percent of all producers came from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups.) While “Captain Marvel,” “Harley Quinn,” “Wonder Woman” and other female-centered blockbusters have come to the screen with female directors at the helm, most theatrical blockbusters based on well-worn intellectual property — the bread and butter of today’s movie business — still belong to the men.

“Inside, deep inside, I’m not seeing wheels turn beyond surface statements,” Ms. DuVernay said. “I think Time’s Up is effective and still pushing hard. But without a real threat or adverse impact, systems don’t change overnight. As I’m experiencing it now, I’d say it’s at 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Which is significant, seeing it was at a negative 20 before.”

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‘Finally’: Ashley Judd and Other Weinstein Accusers Respond to Verdict

Harvey Weinstein was once lauded as one of Hollywood’s most dynamic film producers. Now, after a Manhattan jury convicted him of two felony sex crimes, he faces the prospect of years in prison.

While the New York case was narrowly focused — the criminal charges centered largely on just two women — its symbolism was sweeping. More than 90 women have accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual misconduct, and the allegations against him set off the global #MeToo movement.

Mr. Weinstein is the first high-profile man to be ousted from a position of power during the movement and then criminally prosecuted. (He has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.)

Moments after the jury announced its decision on Monday, The New York Times asked some of Mr. Weinstein’s accusers, other stakeholders in the #MeToo movement and legal experts to interpret the verdict’s meaning.

Their responses have been edited and condensed.


Westlake Legal Group merlin_143958450_0a3ee367-7a8e-46bb-94ca-529767a4f456-jumbo ‘Finally’: Ashley Judd and Other Weinstein Accusers Respond to Verdict Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes #MeToo Movement   Credit…Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

This is what he has created for himself, prison, lack of remorse, lack of accountability.

Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd was the first actress to publicly accuse Mr. Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

The story of #MeToo, of what the movement is about, is that men no longer have tacit permission to use their power or prestige to sexually access girls’ and women’s bodies. Their power and position cannot be used in secret or in the open to exploit asymmetry of power. There will be consequences in the courtroom, in employment and in society.

This is the way it’s supposed to be. This is the way it’s supposed to be.

And I think that Harvey’s guilty verdict demonstrates how overwhelmingly guilty he was. A perpetrator has to be overwhelmingly guilty for justice to be served at this time.

I would love for Harvey to have a restorative justice process in which he could come emotionally to terms with his wrongs. The criminal justice system is a distant second to a more humane kind of process. This is what he has created for himself: prison, lack of remorse, lack of accountability. The man is going to prison for sex crimes.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167853321_a2284026-a278-491e-aa17-3aded8edafaa-jumbo ‘Finally’: Ashley Judd and Other Weinstein Accusers Respond to Verdict Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes #MeToo Movement   Credit…Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

It was definitely the most stressful thing I’ve done in my life.

Dawn Dunning

Dawn Dunning is a former actress who served as one of several supporting witnesses at Mr. Weinstein’s trial, testifying about what prosecutors said was a pattern of predation by the producer.

It was very nerve-racking to testify. I knew I’d have to see him and talk about what happened to me.

I did it for all of us. I did it for the women who couldn’t testify. I couldn’t not do it.

My biggest fear was him being found not guilty. I’m very relieved. But he wasn’t found guilty on all of the counts, so I feel like it was a victory, but not a complete victory. This verdict made it real for people watching from afar that you will be held accountable for your actions. You can’t take advantage of people just because you have power and money.

Either way, regardless of the verdict, it didn’t change how hard it was to be face to face with him in the courtroom, and testifying in a room full of press. The cross-examination was really difficult.

It was definitely the most stressful thing I’ve done in my life.


Westlake Legal Group merlin_145212849_6c2d845e-087e-4205-a596-5bd91dba97b2-jumbo ‘Finally’: Ashley Judd and Other Weinstein Accusers Respond to Verdict Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes #MeToo Movement   Credit…Heather Sten for The New York Times

He will forever be guilty.

Tarana Burke

Tarana Burke is the activist who started the original #MeToo movement more than a decade ago.

Most of us will never see the inside of the courtroom, but these women got to take the stand, look him in the eye, and ‘You did this to me.’

He will forever be guilty. That’s a thing we have.


Westlake Legal Group merlin_169076019_5f526fff-e92f-4dfa-9016-9e2517f46501-jumbo ‘Finally’: Ashley Judd and Other Weinstein Accusers Respond to Verdict Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes #MeToo Movement   Credit…Rachel Woolf for The New York Times

Hinging the future of women’s rights on a criminal conviction is a little troubling to me.

Aya Gruber

Aya Gruber is a former defense lawyer and a law professor at the University of Colorado.

I have mixed reactions about the whole case. On the one hand, I am myself a sexual assault survivor and I believe that the #MeToo movement is good. On the other hand, as a former defense attorney, hinging the future of women’s rights on a criminal conviction is a little troubling to me.

The thought that one case could be representative of the entire world of victims and defendants is just wrong. But that’s what happened in this case. It became symbolic of not just the entire universe of sexual assault cases, but the entire women’s movement.

When we bend rules to favor prosecutors, it’s not always the Harvey Weinsteins. When you look at the majority of sex offenders, especially as we’re broadening the definition of what counts as a sex offense, a lot of them are juveniles. People who are figuring out their sexuality. A lot of them are people of color and from marginalized neighborhoods. And they’re going to be caught up in a system that is extremely harsh, and possibly branded for life.

What is the fallout from a #MeToo movement that insists on incarceration as part of its justice goals?

Harvey Weinstein needed to be held accountable. But sex offenders have a horrible time in jail. It is going to be terrible, state-imposed suffering and torture. I have a hard time feeling happy about that. If accountability can only come through decades in horrific conditions in jail, I don’t love that. Not for anyone.


Westlake Legal Group merlin_156375450_7de37ab4-8380-46b5-9fb5-e1713ac7eda9-jumbo ‘Finally’: Ashley Judd and Other Weinstein Accusers Respond to Verdict Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes #MeToo Movement   Credit…Sean Smith for The New York Times

This moment we are in is an opportunity to disrupt the story of a typical survivor.

Fatima Goss Graves

Fatima Goss Graves is the president of the National Women’s Law Center.

What defense attorneys do is create a narrative that only one type of person could experience sexual violence, and that there is only one type of response. They discount behaviors that are actually really typical in an effort to blame victims. This moment we are in is an opportunity to disrupt the story of a typical survivor, and to disrupt the story of a typical response.

When I think about the last two years, we’ve seen important examples of individual accountability. I have great hope that individuals in this case have a measure of justice around them. But the last two years have been bigger than one individual. They’ve been about systems changing, creating new norms and laws that will propel us further in the future. I’m hopeful about the future.


Westlake Legal Group merlin_32002780_f2f3d58e-a432-487c-be70-7aa36e4da750-jumbo ‘Finally’: Ashley Judd and Other Weinstein Accusers Respond to Verdict Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes #MeToo Movement   Credit…Barbara P. Fernandez for The New York Times

It looks like they were fairly careful on what they decided.

Isabelle Kirshner

Isabelle Kirshner is a former Manhattan prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer who has represented men accused of sexual assault.

This wasn’t “Believe all women,” and certainly not “Believe everything women are saying.”

Had they believed all women, and what all the women said, he would have been convicted on all charges. It looks like they were fairly careful on what they decided.


Westlake Legal Group 00weinstein-reaction-manning-jumbo ‘Finally’: Ashley Judd and Other Weinstein Accusers Respond to Verdict Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes #MeToo Movement   Credit…Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

The conviction of Harvey Weinstein is a stunning victory for every single woman who refused to remain silent any longer.

Jane Manning

Jane Manning is a former Queens prosecutor who is director of the Women’s Equal Justice Project.

It’s a historic day. A predator who was once untouchable has finally been held accountable. All of the women who spoke out about Harvey Weinstein are heroes: the ones who received a guilty verdict, and the many who didn’t.

Annabella Sciorra’s case stretches farther back in time than the others; perhaps that was a challenge for the jury. But there’s no doubt in my mind that her testimony mattered. It helped establish a pattern; it supported the accounts of Miriam Haleyi and Jessica Mann. She deserves admiration and gratitude for her courage; all the prosecution witnesses do.

The conviction of Harvey Weinstein is a stunning victory for every single woman who refused to remain silent any longer.


Westlake Legal Group merlin_161012739_835aac3d-f774-4ac8-90cb-0b95e37724c0-jumbo ‘Finally’: Ashley Judd and Other Weinstein Accusers Respond to Verdict Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes #MeToo Movement   Credit…Jason Henry for The New York Times

Every day that I live and enjoy my life is a victory over Harvey.

Rowena Chiu

Rowena Chiu is a former assistant at Miramax, the production company founded by Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob. She accused Mr. Weinstein of assaulting her on the job in 1998.

I had said in an interview a few days ago, that this isn’t just a story of one man. Even in the light of a conviction, it isn’t just one person. Obviously it is a really important victory for the #MeToo movement. But the #MeToo movement is much, much bigger than what happens to Harvey. This is certainly a moment of great encouragement and a milestone for me personally and the movement as a whole.

In some ways, I feel that the life I’ve built today, every day that I live and enjoy my life is a victory over Harvey. That is much more meaningful than going for a legal victory. Because we all know the legal system is flawed.

Many of us are doing incredible work that stems from surviving trauma. I think that is very much something I want to put out there. Many of us are doing these incredible things. The very fact that I’m with my kids in a sand pit, is a victory over Harvey, whether he ends up in jail or not.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_144413697_f45b4d46-6f2d-4b95-8dde-6b8d6339f2cd-jumbo ‘Finally’: Ashley Judd and Other Weinstein Accusers Respond to Verdict Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes #MeToo Movement   Credit…Erin Schaff for The New York Times

I felt some measure of justice had been done. He is now a convicted rapist.

Debra Katz

Debra Katz, a civil rights and employment lawyer, has represented several people who have spoken out about Mr. Weinstein.

There was a great deal of tension in the courtroom this morning, waiting for the jury. When we got to the first count of guilty, there was a feeling of extraordinary relief.

I felt some measure of justice had been done. He is now a convicted rapist. It was an extraordinary moment of social reckoning. It’s no longer OK to say that this was transactional, that these women knew exactly what they were getting. It’s no longer acceptable to blame women for the fact that they were targeted by a sexual predator. This was a true repudiation of the arguments that Donna Rotunno, his lawyer, made, that these women used Weinstein and that he was an unwitting victim.

When Rotunno exited the courthouse today, her response was extremely telling. She said Harvey Weinstein was completely shocked. For a man who has taken this kind of advantage and abused women for decades and taken this as his prerogative, I would say he is shocked.


Westlake Legal Group merlin_169037865_c4f6dffa-0c57-4a7e-820a-0b466d6d8e1f-jumbo ‘Finally’: Ashley Judd and Other Weinstein Accusers Respond to Verdict Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes #MeToo Movement   Credit…Lexey Swall for The New York Times

Hopefully this gives more women the strength to come forward.

Lucia Evans

Lucia Evans’s accusation of sexual assault against Mr. Weinstein was originally included, and then dropped, from the New York case.

I am so impressed by the women who participated in the criminal case up through the verdict. Witnessing firsthand many of the obstacles that stood in their way only deepens my appreciation of their courage. I truly wish I was given the opportunity to stand next to them, to see my case through to the end.

Hopefully this gives more women the strength to come forward.

It really took a village of women to do this.


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Harvey Weinstein Is Found Guilty of Sex Crimes in #MeToo Watershed

Westlake Legal Group HFO-00weinstein-verdict-ledeall01-facebookJumbo-v2 Harvey Weinstein Is Found Guilty of Sex Crimes in #MeToo Watershed Young, Lauren Wulff, Tarale Weinstein, Harvey Vance, Cyrus R Jr sexual harassment Sex Crimes Sciorra, Annabella Rotunno, Donna Perez, Rosie Mann, Jessica (Actor) Illuzzi-Orbon, Joan Haleyi, Mimi Haley, Miriam Dunning, Dawn Decisions and Verdicts Burke, James M #MeToo Movement

Harvey Weinstein, the powerhouse film producer whose downfall over sexual misconduct ignited a global movement, was found guilty of two felony sex crimes after a trial in which six women testified that he had sexually assaulted them.

The jury found Mr. Weinstein guilty of rape and criminal sexual act but acquitted him of three other counts, including the two most serious charges against him — that he is a sexual predator.

Mr. Weinstein sat motionless and displayed little emotion as the verdict was read. “But, I’m innocent,” the producer repeated three times to his lawyers. Minutes later, he appeared stunned as he was handcuffed and led out of court, limping between two court officers on his way to jail to await sentencing. He faces a possible sentence of between five and 29 years.

Complaints about Mr. Weinstein, an Oscar-winning producer of films including “Shakespeare in Love,” had opened the floodgates in late 2017, as hundreds of thousands of women aired their own stories of harassment. Mr. Weinstein quickly became a symbol not just of the casting couch culture in Hollywood, but of the abuse women had endured for hundreds of years.

And for many, the trial was a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement and a crucial test in the effort to hold influential men accountable for sexual harassment in the workplace.

The criminal charges brought in Manhattan against Mr. Weinstein, 67, rested narrowly on the complaints of two women: Miriam Haley, a production assistant who said he had forced oral sex on her in 2006, and Jessica Mann, a former actress who alleged he had raped her at a hotel in 2013.

Jurors also had to consider the testimony of the actress Annabella Sciorra, who said Mr. Weinstein had raped her in the early 1990s, in deciding whether he was a sexual predator. Three other women were allowed give their accounts of alleged assaults to establish a pattern of behavior, but Mr. Weinstein was not charged in those incidents.

But the jury found him not guilty on two counts of predatory sexual assault, suggesting they had doubts about Ms. Sciorra’s allegation.

After the jury foreman delivered the verdict, Justice James M. Burke thanked the jurors for their “care and concentration” before they left the courtroom. As they filed out, Juror No. 6 stared at Mr. Weinstein. Justice Burke immediately sent Mr. Weinstein to jail to await sentencing on March 11, denying his request to be sent home for medical reasons.

The case, heard in State Supreme Court, was an unusually risky one for Manhattan prosecutors, who had little or no physical or forensic evidence to support the women’s allegations. The trial turned into a battle over the women’s credibility.

Donna Rotunno, the lead defense lawyer, tried to put the #MeToo movement on trial, arguing that public outrage over Mr. Weinstein’s behavior had stripped him of a career and branded him as a rapist without due process. He was, she said, “a target of a cause and of a movement.”

Prosecutors portrayed Mr. Weinstein as a calculated predator who kept his victims close after his attacks to control them, using his power over their futures in the film industry to silence them.

“The power imbalance he deviously exploited was not just physical, it was also professional and profoundly psychological,” one of the prosecutors, Meghan Hast, said in her opening statement.

But defense lawyers said the women had sex with Mr. Weinstein willingly to further their careers. Only years later, they said, after he had been accused of sexual harassment in The New York Times and The New Yorker, did the women say their encounters with him were not consensual.

The defense presented evidence that Ms. Haley and Ms. Mann not only had friendly communications with Mr. Weinstein after the alleged attacks, but also had consensual sex with him.

But after deliberating for five days the jury of seven men and five women determined that Mr. Weinstein had broken the law.

The verdict was a victory for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., whose legacy turned on the outcome of the case. He had come under heavy political pressure to bring charges against Mr. Weinstein after he had declined to prosecute him in 2015, after allegations the producer had groped an Italian model during a business meeting.

That decision came back to haunt Mr. Vance in late 2017 when dozens of women came forward to accuse Mr. Weinstein of sexual misconduct; some of the allegations dated back decades. Once considered an ally by feminists, Mr. Vance became the target of protests, even as jurors began to hear testimony against Mr. Weinstein last month.

With his legacy as district attorney and his political future in the balance, Mr. Vance sat in on the trial most days. After the verdict, he said in the hallway outside the courtroom that the women who had testified against Mr. Weinstein had “changed the course of history in the fight against sexual violence.”

“Harvey Weinstein is a vicious sexual predator” who has “used his power to trick, assault and humiliate his victims,” Mr. Vance said. “To the survivors of Harvey Weinstein, I owe, and we all owe, an immense debt to you.”

From the start, much about the story of Mr. Weinstein’s mistreatment of women had been outsize, from the number of women who accused him — at least 90 — to the range of the alleged misconduct: everything from lewd propositions and unwanted touching to forced oral sex and rape.

But the authorities in New York faced hurdles in putting together a case, law enforcement officials said. Many of the alleged crimes happened outside the state. Others were too old to prosecute under the statute of limitations. Some of the women were not willing to testify.

The criminal case Mr. Vance’s office brought in May 2018 was challenging for prosecutors to prove, in part because two of the three accusers had continued to see Mr. Weinstein after the alleged assaults.

Then, charges related to the third woman were thrown out because, prosecutors said, the lead detective on the case had withheld evidence from them that could have been used to discredit the woman’s account.

To bolster the weakened case, prosecutors won permission last summer from Justice James M. Burke, the judge overseeing the trial, to include a rape allegation from Ms. Sciorra, the actress known for her work on “The Sopranos.”

Though the incident had happened too long ago to be the basis of a separate rape charge, prosecutors sought to use it to support charges of predatory sexual assault, which carry a penalty of life in prison. Those charges require the state to prove that Mr. Weinstein committed a serious sex crime against at least two women.

Ms Sciorra, 59, testified Mr. Weinstein had pushed his way into her apartment in the early 1990s, after he gave her a ride home from a dinner party, and violently raped her even as she kicked and punched him.

The actress Rosie Perez backed up her testimony, recounting how Ms. Sciorra had told her at the time, “I think I was raped,” and had later identified Mr. Weinstein as her attacker.

Justice Burke also allowed prosecutors to call three women — Tarale Wulff, Dawn Dunning and Lauren Young — who said Mr. Weinstein lured them into private meetings, either at hotels or at his apartment, under the pretense of discussing job opportunities, then sexually assaulted them. At the time, they were aspiring actresses trying to get film parts.

One of those incidents happened in Los Angeles, and two were barred by New York State’s statute of limitations. Still, the judge allowed the women, who had all been working as waitresses or models, to testify to establish a pattern of abuse — the legal strategy led to a conviction in the sexual assault trial of the comedian Bill Cosby in Pennsylvania.

The defense called friends of Ms. Mann’s and Ms. Sciorra’s, who said the women had never described their experiences with Mr. Weinstein as rape. Ms. Sciorra, the defense suggested during cross-examination, had misremembered what happened, noting that she could not recall the date of the assault, nor explain how Mr. Weinstein got past a doorman and to her apartment.

Defense lawyers also introduced scores of friendly and sometimes flirtatious emails showing that Ms. Mann and Ms. Haley maintained relationships with Mr. Weinstein for years after the alleged attacks.

In one message to a friend, for instance, Ms. Mann described Mr. Weinstein as “a pseudo father” who had given her “all the validation” she needed. In another, she bragged about performing oral sex on a “super rich producer” who could ruin careers.

Ms. Mann, 34, acknowledged under three days of grueling questioning that her romantic relationship with Mr. Weinstein was “complicated and different.” At one point, she became inconsolable when it came out in court she had been sexually abused when she was young. She said that she last had sex with Mr. Weinstein in 2016, after he asked her to console him because his mother had died.

“It does not change the fact that he raped me,” she said.

Ms. Haley, 42, who changed her legal name from Mimi Haleyi, said that Mr. Weinstein asked her for a massage at their first professional meeting, but that she rejected his advances at subsequent meetings. He eventually helped get her a job as a production assistant on the television show “Project Runway,” she said.

Then, on July 11, 2006, Ms. Haley accepted an invitation to visit Mr. Weinstein at his apartment in Lower Manhattan. She said he pushed her onto a bed, even as she protested, held her down and forced oral sex on her. “I’m being raped,” she recalled thinking.

The defense elicited testimony from Ms. Haley that she continued to see Mr. Weinstein after the alleged attack, having consensual sex with him two weeks later at a hotel. She also told her friends about her friendship with him, pitched him ideas for projects, and accepted tickets to movie premieres and for a flight to London.

Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers also asked why none of the six women reported the incidents to the police.

Prosecutors told jurors that the women feared Mr. Weinstein would ruin their careers if they reported the encounters to law enforcement. Prosecutors also called an expert on the psychology of sexual assault victims, Dr. Barbara Ziv, who said victims often do not report such crimes to the authorities and sometimes maintain relationships with their attackers.

Ms. Rotunno had said the prosecutors invented a world where women have no free will and are not responsible for their own decisions, suggesting Mr. Weinstein’s accusers now regretted having had consensual sex with him at the time when they stood to benefit.

But Joan Illuzzi, the lead prosecutor, countered that it was Mr. Weinstein who had created a world in which women with less than him, and more to lose, had no choice but to subjected to his unwanted advances and abuse, until now.

“He was the master of his universe, and the witnesses here were merely ants that he could step on without consequences,” Ms. Illuzzi said. “The fact they wanted to get into his universe was all he needed to turn around and say — they don’t get to complain when they are stepped on, spit on, demoralized, and yes, raped and abused by the defendant.”

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Weinstein Found Guilty: Live Updates and Verdict Reaction

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group HFO-00weinstein-verdict-ledeall01-articleLarge Weinstein Found Guilty: Live Updates and Verdict Reaction Young, Lauren Wulff, Tarale Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes Sciorra, Annabella Rotunno, Donna Mann, Jessica (Actor) Manhattan (NYC) Haley, Miriam Dunning, Dawn #MeToo Movement

Harvey Weinstein arriving on Monday at State Supreme Court in Manhattan for his rape trial.Credit…Anna Watts for The New York Times

Harvey Weinstein, who long reigned as one of the most influential producers in Hollywood, was found guilty on Monday of two felony sex crimes after a Manhattan trial that became a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement.

But the jury acquitted Mr. Weinstein of the two most serious charges against him, predatory sexual assault.

The verdict offered a measure of justice to the dozens of women who have come forward with similar allegations against Mr. Weinstein. For many, the trial was a crucial test in the effort to hold powerful men accountable for sexual harassment in the workplace.

The jury found Mr. Weinstein guilty of two counts, criminal sexual assault in the first degree and rape in the third degree. On the two counts of predatory sexual assault, the not guilty verdicts suggested that one or some jurors did not believe the testimony of Annabella Sciorra, an actress best known for her work in “The Sopranos.”

He faces a sentence of five to 25 years on the top count.

Video

Westlake Legal Group HFO-00weinstein-verdict-ledeall01-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600-v2 Weinstein Found Guilty: Live Updates and Verdict Reaction Young, Lauren Wulff, Tarale Weinstein, Harvey sexual harassment Sex Crimes Sciorra, Annabella Rotunno, Donna Mann, Jessica (Actor) Manhattan (NYC) Haley, Miriam Dunning, Dawn #MeToo Movement

Jurors at Harvey Weinstein’s trial found him guilty of criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree.CreditCredit…Anna Watts for The New York Times

As the jury walked into the courtroom to announce that it had reached a verdict, Mr. Weinstein sat between his lawyers, staring straight ahead, as four court officers stood behind him.

Mr. Weinstein appeared unmoved as the verdict was read. Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, was nearby, in the front row.

After the verdict was read, Justice James M. Burke thanked the jurors for their “care and concentration” before they left the courtroom. As they filed out, Juror No. 6 stared at Mr. Weinstein.

The judge then announced that Mr. Weinstein would immediately be sent to jail to await his sentencing. But as court officers approached him, the producer seemed stunned and refused to move.

Moments later, he was handcuffed and removed from the room, limping with two officers standing by his side.

Mr. Vance, the district attorney, said at a news conference immediately after Mr. Weinstein was remanded that the women who testified against him had “changed the course of history in the fight against sexual violence.”

“Harvey Weinstein is a vicious sexual predator” who has “used his power to trick, assault and humiliate his victims,” Mr. Vance said. “To the survivors of Harvey Weinstein, I owe, and we all owe, an immense debt to you.”

He added: “These survivors weren’t just brave, they were heroic. Words can’t describe the sacrifices they made.”

In 2015, Mr. Vance declined to prosecute Mr. Weinstein after an Italian model alleged he had groped her breasts during a business meeting at his office in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood.

At the time, the prosecutor said the evidence did not support charging Mr. Weinstein with forcible touching, a misdemeanor.

Six women testified at trial that he had sexually assaulted them, though Mr. Weinstein had faced criminal charges in connection with only two of them. The others were allowed to testify to establish a pattern of behavior.

The indictment rested on the accusations of Miriam Haley, a former television production assistant who testified that Mr. Weinstein forced oral sex on her at his Manhattan apartment in 2006; and Jessica Mann, a former aspiring actress, who says he raped her in a Midtown Manhattan hotel room in 2013.

Ms. Mann and Ms. Haley both acknowledged that they continued to see Mr. Weinstein after the alleged assaults and later had consensual sex with him, testimony that complicated the prosecution’s case.

Justice Burke allowed the prosecution to call four women as witnesses to corroborate the five charges stemming from Ms. Mann’s and Ms. Haley’s claims against Mr. Weinstein.

One of those witnesses was Ms. Sciorra, who says she was raped by Mr. Weinstein nearly 30 years ago in her Manhattan apartment. She was called to support the charges of predatory sexual assault, which require proving that a defendant attacked at least two victims. The jury ultimately did not convict Mr. Weinstein on those counts.

The three other women were permitted to testify to bolster the prosecution’s contention that Mr. Weinstein engaged over time in a pattern of sexually abusive behavior.

None of the four women’s accounts could be formally charged as crimes on their own because the alleged attacks were too old to prosecute under New York’s statute of limitations.

Prosecutors had described Mr. Weinstein as a clever predator who kept his victims close to control them, using his power over their careers in the film industry as leverage.

But defense lawyers had said the women had willingly had sex with Mr. Weinstein to further their careers and only years later, after he had been accused in news reports of sexual harassment, began to remember their encounters with him as nonconsensual.

Accusations of sexual misconduct and assault against Mr. Weinstein have swirled for decades in New York and Los Angeles. The trial in Manhattan was only the latest step in a lengthy saga.

Mr. Weinstein had avoided prosecution in connection with an alleged groping incident in 2015, and was indicted in New York in 2018 only after scores of women came forward to accuse him in the media.

Here is a timeline of events, from March 2015 to February 2020, of Mr. Weinstein’s journey toward a verdict.

Regardless of the verdict in New York, Mr. Weinstein still faces charges in a separate case in Los Angeles. In a highly unusual move, California prosecutors announced their indictment on the first day of Mr. Weinstein’s trial in Manhattan.

The Los Angeles case is based on the accounts of two unidentified women, who have accused him of attacking them — just a day apart — in February 2013.

One of the women, an Italian model and actress, has told prosecutors that Mr. Weinstein raped her in the bathroom of a Beverly Hills hotel after she met him at a film festival.

The next day, the other woman has said, Mr. Weinstein invited her and another woman to his room in a West Los Angeles hotel after meeting them in the restaurant downstairs. There, prosecutors said, Mr. Weinstein trapped his victim in a bathroom, grabbed her breasts and masturbated.

One actress accused Mr. Weinstein of raping her in the early 1990s. A second woman said he forced oral sex on her in 2006. A third accused him of raping her in 2013.

In all, six women testified against Mr. Weinstein at his trial:

Annabella Sciorra testified that after a dinner party in the winter of either 1993 or 1994, Mr. Weinstein barged in to her Manhattan apartment and raped her. The alleged attack was too old to be prosecuted separately as rape under New York law.

Miriam Haley told jurors that in 2006 the producer forced oral sex on her at his apartment in Lower Manhattan, despite her protests. Mr. Weinstein was charged with one count of criminal sexual act and predatory sexual assault involving Ms. Haley, who previously went by the name Mimi Haleyi.

Jessica Mann testified that Mr. Weinstein injected his genitals with an erection medication and raped her in a hotel room in Midtown Manhattan. He was charged with first- and third-degree rape, and predatory sexual assault involving her allegations.

Dawn Dunning accused Mr. Weinstein of touching her genitals in a hotel room in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood.

Tarale Wulff testified that Mr. Weinstein pulled her into a secluded stairwell in a lounge in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood and masturbated.

Lauren Young told jurors that the producer pulled down her dress, groped her breasts, masturbated and ejaculated onto the floor in a hotel room in Los Angeles.

Ms. Young’s account, like those of Ms. Dunning’s and Ms. Wulff’s, were allowed in an effort to show the producer’s history of abuse, prosecutors said.

Reporting was contributed by Jan Ransom, Alan Feuer, Liam Stack, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.

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A Timeline of the Weinstein Case

Westlake Legal Group 00WEINSTEINTIMELINE1-facebookJumbo A Timeline of the Weinstein Case Weinstein, Harvey Vance, Cyrus R Jr sexual harassment Sex Crimes Sciorra, Annabella Rotunno, Donna Police Department (NYC) Mann, Jessica (Actor) Manhattan (NYC) Illuzzi-Orbon, Joan Haley, Miriam Evans, Lucia Cuomo, Andrew M Brafman, Benjamin Battilana, Ambra #MeToo Movement

Accusations of sexual misconduct had swirled around the film producer Harvey Weinstein in New York and Los Angeles long before he was on trial in Manhattan.

Here is a timeline of events in Mr. Weinstein’s journey toward a verdict.

March 27, 2015

Ambra Battilana, an Italian model, told the New York City police that Mr. Weinstein groped her breasts during a business meeting at his office in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood. The next day, working with investigators, Ms. Battilana visited Mr. Weinstein at the TriBeCa Grand Hotel and secretly recorded him apologizing for the encounter.

But after a two-week investigation by sex-crimes prosecutors, the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., announced that the evidence did not support charging Mr. Weinstein with forcible touching, a misdemeanor.

August 2017

As reports began to circulate that journalists were looking into allegations that Mr. Weinstein mistreated scores of women over decades, the producer hired a private intelligence firm, Black Cube, to investigate what he described as “red flags” — or people who he suspected were talking about him to reporters.

Among those people was Annabella Sciorra, an actress known for her work on “The Sopranos,” who claims that Mr. Weinstein raped her at her apartment in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood in 1993 or 1994.

Oct. 5, 2017

The New York Times published an investigation detailing the accounts of several women who claimed that Mr. Weinstein abused or harassed them in incidents as early as 1990s.

Five days later, The New Yorker published an article about more women who were accusing Mr. Weinstein of sexual misconduct; it included Ms. Sciorra’s account.

March 19, 2018

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo ordered New York State prosecutors to investigate why Mr. Vance declined to charge Mr. Weinstein in Ms. Battilana’s 2015 case. It had recently become clear that Mr. Vance had taken campaign donations from some of Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers.

The investigation placed Mr. Vance’s decision-making in the spotlight.

April 25, 2018

Mr. Vance replaced the veteran sex-crimes prosecutor initially assigned to investigate Mr. Weinstein with a senior homicide prosecutor, Joan Illuzzi. The personnel change reflected a tension between the Police Department and the district attorney’s office over how to handle the case.

May 25, 2018

Mr. Weinstein was indicted and surrendered at the First Precinct station house in Lower Manhattan on charges of rape and criminal sexual act.

The rape charge stemmed from an alleged assault on an unnamed woman at the Doubletree Hotel in Midtown Manhattan in 2013. She was later revealed to be Jessica Mann, a former aspiring actress from a small town in Washington State.

The criminal sexual act charge involved Lucia Evans, a marketing executive who told investigators that Mr. Weinstein forced oral sex during a casting meeting in his TriBeCa office in 2004.

Mr. Weinstein’s then-lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, set the tone for his defense by saying that while he might have engaged in “bad behavior,” he had not committed any crimes.

July 2, 2018

Manhattan prosecutors announced they were adding charges to Mr. Weinstein’s indictment.

The new charges were related to accusations of forced oral sex at his TriBeCa apartment in July 2006 on an unnamed woman. She was later identified as Miriam Haley, a former production assistant on the television show “Project Runway.”

The new charges included predatory sexual assault, which requires prosecutors to prove that a defendant committed sexual felonies against two people and carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Oct. 11, 2018

A judge dismissed the forcible oral sex charge against Mr. Weinstein involving Ms. Evans after prosecutors acknowledged that the lead detective in the case failed to inform them about a witness who had cast doubt on Ms. Evans’s account.

Three months before the indictment, the detective, Nicholas DiGaudio, had learned from the witness, a friend of Ms. Evans’s, that Ms. Evans had once claimed that she willingly performed oral sex on Mr. Weinstein in exchange for the promise of an acting job.

Detective DiGaudio never told prosecutors about this contradictory account, raising questions about the viability of the broader indictment.

Jan. 17, 2019

Mr. Brafman, Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer, withdrew from the case, delaying the trial schedule.

Mr. Brafman said he had uncovered several emails between Mr. Weinstein and his accusers, which suggested that aspects of their relationships were consensual.

July 11, 2019

Mr. Weinstein’s third set of lawyers, who represented him at trial, held a news conference outside State Supreme Court in Manhattan to announce their role. They had taken the case after Mr. Weinstein had hired and fired a second legal team.

The lead lawyer, Donna Rotunno of Chicago, said at the event that Mr. Weinstein had been “railroaded” by the #MeToo movement.

Aug. 26, 2019

Moving to shore up their case, prosecutors obtained a new indictment against Mr. Weinstein, allowing them to call Ms. Sciorra, the actress from “The Sopranos,” as a witness at the trial.

By her own account, Ms. Sciorra’s alleged encounter with the producer happened nearly 30 years before — too long ago to be charged as a separate count of rape under New York State law. But the indictment permitted her to testify under the theory that her statements would support the charges of predatory sexual assault.

Jan. 6, 2020

In a surprising move, prosecutors in Los Angeles charged Mr. Weinstein with raping one woman and groping and masturbating in front of a second within two days in February 2013.

The California charges were filed even as the parties in New York gathered on the first day of Mr. Weinstein’s trial in Manhattan to discuss jury selection and other legal issues.

Jan. 23, 2020

Ms. Sciorra told a hushed courtroom that Mr. Weinstein had pushed his way into her apartment in the early 1990s, after giving her a ride home from a dinner party, and forced her onto a bed.

“I was trying to get him off me,” Ms. Sciorra told the jury, her voice cracking with emotion. “I was punching him, kicking him.” But Mr. Weinstein held her down, she said, adding: “He got on top of me and he raped me.”

Jan. 27, 2020

Miriam Haley testified that Mr. Weinstein had held her down on a bed and forced oral sex on her in his TriBeCa apartment in July 2006, despite her protests.

“I’m being raped,” Ms. Haley recalled thinking.

She added, “I was in so much shock at the time that I just checked out.” Ms. Haley said she had sex with Mr. Weinstein two weeks after the first encounter at a hotel and “didn’t physically resist.”

On cross-examination, she acknowledged that, after the assault, she had continued to accept gifts from him and to correspond with him, sending him friendly emails.

Jan. 31, 2020

Ms. Mann took the witness stand, accusing Mr. Weinstein of raping her in a Midtown Manhattan hotel room after he blocked her from leaving it.

He ordered her to undress, and injected his genitals with a medication, she said, adding, “I gave up at that point.”

On cross-examination, Ms. Mann acknowledged that she had consensual sex with Mr. Weinstein before and after the alleged assault, the last encounter being in 2016.

She broke down in tears when it was revealed in court that she had been sexually abused when she was younger. The moment came as she read a letter she had written to a boyfriend, in which she described Mr. Weinstein as “a pseudo father” who had given her “all the validation I ever needed.”

Feb. 18, 2020

The five men and seven women on the jury began deliberations after a monthlong trial that included testimony from six accusers in all, as well as from experts and other witnesses.

The jurors grappled with difficult questions. They had to decide if the relationships between the women and Mr. Weinstein were consensual and transactional, as his lawyers suggested. They also had to determine if consensual sex between Mr. Weinstein and some of the women undermined the claims that on other occasions, he assaulted them.

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Harvey Weinstein Is Found Guilty of Sex Crimes in #MeToo Watershed

Westlake Legal Group HFO-00weinstein-verdict-ledeall01-facebookJumbo-v2 Harvey Weinstein Is Found Guilty of Sex Crimes in #MeToo Watershed Young, Lauren Wulff, Tarale Weinstein, Harvey Vance, Cyrus R Jr sexual harassment Sex Crimes Sciorra, Annabella Rotunno, Donna Perez, Rosie Mann, Jessica (Actor) Illuzzi-Orbon, Joan Haleyi, Mimi Haley, Miriam Dunning, Dawn Decisions and Verdicts Burke, James M #MeToo Movement

Harvey Weinstein, the powerhouse film producer whose downfall over sexual misconduct ignited a global movement, was found guilty of two felony sex crimes after a trial in which six women testified that he had sexually assaulted them.

The jury found Mr. Weinstein guilty of rape and criminal sexual act but acquitted him of three other counts, including the two most serious charges against him — that he is a sexual predator.

Mr. Weinstein displayed little emotion as the verdict was read. He appeared stunned as he was handcuffed and led out of court, limping between two court officers on his way to jail to await sentencing. He faces a possible sentence of between five and 25 years.

The verdict offered a measure of justice to the dozens of women who had come forward with similar allegations against Mr. Weinstein. For many, the trial was a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement and a crucial test in the effort to hold influential men accountable for sexual harassment in the workplace.

Complaints about Mr. Weinstein, an Oscar-winning producer of films including “Shakespeare in Love,” had opened the floodgates in late 2017, as hundreds of thousands of women aired their own stories of harassment. Mr. Weinstein quickly became a symbol not just of the casting couch culture in Hollywood, but of the abuse women had endured for hundreds of years.

The criminal charges brought in Manhattan against Mr. Weinstein, 67, rested narrowly on the complaints of two women: Miriam Haley, a production assistant who said he had forced oral sex on her in 2006, and Jessica Mann, a former actress who alleged he had raped her at a hotel in 2013.

Jurors also had to consider the testimony of the actress Annabella Sciorra, who claimed Mr. Weinstein had raped her in the early 1990s, in deciding whether he was a sexual predator. Three other women were allowed give their accounts of alleged assaults to establish a pattern of behavior, but Mr. Weinstein was not charged in those incidents.

But the jury found him not guilty on the two counts of predatory sexual assault, suggesting that the jurors did not believe Ms. Sciorra’s allegation.

The case, heard in State Supreme Court, was an unusually risky one for Manhattan prosecutors, who had little or no physical or forensic evidence to support the women’s allegations. The trial turned into a battle over the women’s credibility.

Donna Rotunno, the lead defense lawyer, tried to put the #MeToo movement on trial, arguing that public outrage over Mr. Weinstein’s behavior had stripped him of a career and branded him as a rapist without due process. He was, she said, “a target of a cause and of a movement.”

Prosecutors portrayed Mr. Weinstein as a calculated predator who kept his victims close after his attacks to control them, using his power over their futures in the film industry to silence them.

“The power and balance he deviously exploited was not just physical, it was also professional and profoundly psychological,” one of the prosecutors, Meghan Hast, said in her opening statement.

But defense lawyers said the women had sex with Mr. Weinstein willingly to further their careers. Only years later, they said, after he had been accused of sexual harassment in The New York Times and The New Yorker, did the women say their encounters with him were not consensual.

The defense presented evidence that Ms. Haley and Ms. Mann not only had friendly communications with Mr. Weinstein after the alleged attacks, but also had consensual sex with him.

The verdict was a victory for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., whose legacy turned on the outcome of the case. He had come under heavy political pressure to bring charges against Mr. Weinstein after he had declined to prosecute him in 2015, after allegations the producer had groped an Italian model during a business meeting.

That decision came back to haunt Mr. Vance in late 2017 when dozens of women came forward to accuse Mr. Weinstein of sexual misconduct; some of the allegations dated back decades. Once considered an ally by feminists, Mr. Vance became the target of protests, even as jurors began to hear testimony against Mr. Weinstein last month.

With his legacy as district attorney and his political future in the balance, Mr. Vance sat in on the trial most days.

From the start, much about the story of Mr. Weinstein’s mistreatment of women had been outsize, from the number of women who accused him — at least 90 — to the range of the alleged misconduct: everything from lewd propositions and unwanted touching to forced oral sex and rape.

But the authorities in New York faced hurdles in putting together a case, law enforcement officials said. Many of the alleged crimes happened outside the state. Others were too old to prosecute under the statute of limitations. Some of the women were not willing to testify.

The criminal case Mr. Vance’s office brought in May 2018 was challenging for prosecutors to prove, in part because two of the three accusers had continued to see Mr. Weinstein after the alleged assaults.

Then, charges related to the third woman were thrown out because, prosecutors said, the lead detective on the case had withheld evidence from them that could have been used to discredit the woman’s account.

To bolster the weakened case, prosecutors won permission last summer from Justice James M. Burke, the judge overseeing the trial, to include a rape allegation from Ms. Sciorra, the actress known for her work on “The Sopranos.”

Though the incident had happened too long ago to be the basis of a separate rape charge, prosecutors sought to use it to support charges of predatory sexual assault, which carry a penalty of life in prison. Those charges require the state to prove that Mr. Weinstein committed a serious sex crime against at least two women.

Ms. Sciorra, 59, testified Mr. Weinstein had pushed his way into her apartment in the early 1990s and violently raped her even as she kicked and punched him after giving her a ride home from a dinner party.

The actress Rosie Perez backed up her testimony, recounting how Ms. Sciorra had told her at the time, “I think I was raped,” and had later identified Mr. Weinstein as her attacker.

Justice Burke also allowed prosecutors to call three women — Tarale Wulff, Dawn Dunning and Lauren Young — who said Mr. Weinstein lured them into private meetings, either at hotels or at his apartment, under the pretense of discussing job opportunities, then sexually assaulted them. At the time, they were aspiring actresses trying to get film parts.

One of those incidents happened in Los Angeles, and two were barred by New York State’s statute of limitations. Still, the judge allowed the women, who had all been working as waitresses or models, to testify to establish a pattern of abuse — the legal strategy led to a conviction in the sexual assault trial of the comedian Bill Cosby in Pennsylvania.

The defense called friends of Ms. Mann’s and Ms. Sciorra’s, who said the women had never described their experiences with Mr. Weinstein as rape. Ms. Sciorra, the defense suggested during cross-examination, had misremembered what happened, noting that she could not recall the date of the assault, nor explain how Mr. Weinstein got past a doorman and to her apartment.

Defense lawyers also introduced scores of friendly and sometimes flirtatious emails showing that Ms. Mann and Ms. Haley maintained relationships with Mr. Weinstein for years after the alleged attacks.

In one message to a friend, for instance, Ms. Mann described Mr. Weinstein as “a pseudo father” who had given her “all the validation” she needed. In another, she bragged about performing oral sex on a “super rich producer” who could ruin careers.

Ms. Mann, 34, acknowledged under three days of grueling questioning that her romantic relationship with Mr. Weinstein was “complicated and different.” At one point, she became inconsolable when it came out in court she had been sexually abused when she was young. She said that she last had sex with Mr. Weinstein in 2016, after he asked her to console him because his mother had died.

“It does not change the fact that he raped me,” she said.

Ms. Haley, 42, who changed her legal name from Mimi Haleyi, said that Mr. Weinstein asked her for a massage at their first professional meeting, but that she rejected his advances at subsequent meetings. He eventually helped get her a job as a production assistant on the television show “Project Runway,” she said.

Then, on July 11, 2006, Ms. Haley accepted an invitation to visit Mr. Weinstein at his apartment in Lower Manhattan. She said he pushed her onto a bed, even as she protested, held her down and forced oral sex on her. “I’m being raped,” she recalled thinking.

The defense elicited testimony from Ms. Haley that she continued to see Mr. Weinstein after the alleged attack, having consensual sex with him two weeks later at a hotel. She also told her friends about her friendship with him, pitched him ideas for projects, and accepted tickets to movie premieres and for a flight to London.

Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers also asked why none of the six women reported the incidents to the police.

Prosecutors told jurors that the women feared Mr. Weinstein would ruin their careers if they reported the encounters to law enforcement. Prosecutors also called an expert on the psychology of sexual assault victims, Dr. Barbara Ziv, who said victims often do not report such crimes to the authorities and sometimes maintain relationships with their attackers.

Ms. Rotunno had said the prosecutors invented a world where women have no free will and are not responsible for their own decisions, suggesting Mr. Weinstein’s accusers now regretted having had consensual sex with him at the time when they stood to benefit.

But Joan Illuzzi, the lead prosecutor, countered that it was Mr. Weinstein who had created a world in which women with less than him, and more to lose, had no choice but to subjected to his unwanted advances and abuse, until now.

“He was the master of his universe, and the witnesses here were merely ants that he could step on without consequences,” Ms. Illuzzi said. “The fact they wanted to get into his universe was all he needed to turn around and say — they don’t get to complain when they are stepped on, spit on, demoralized, and yes, raped and abused by the defendant.”

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Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades

[Follow our live coverage and updates of the Harvey Weinstein trial verdict.]

Two decades ago, the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what the young actress expected to be a business breakfast meeting. Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower, she recalled in an interview.

“How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” Ms. Judd said she remembers thinking.

In 2014, Mr. Weinstein invited Emily Nestor, who had worked just one day as a temporary employee, to the same hotel and made another offer: If she accepted his sexual advances, he would boost her career, according to accounts she provided to colleagues who sent them to Weinstein Company executives. The following year, once again at the Peninsula, a female assistant said Mr. Weinstein badgered her into giving him a massage while he was naked, leaving her “crying and very distraught,” wrote a colleague, Lauren O’Connor, in a searing memo asserting sexual harassment and other misconduct by their boss.

“There is a toxic environment for women at this company,” Ms. O’Connor said in the letter, addressed to several executives at the company run by Mr. Weinstein.

An investigation by The New York Times found previously undisclosed allegations against Mr. Weinstein stretching over nearly three decades, documented through interviews with current and former employees and film industry workers, as well as legal records, emails and internal documents from the businesses he has run, Miramax and the Weinstein Company.

During that time, after being confronted with allegations including sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact, Mr. Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women, according to two company officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. Among the recipients, The Times found, were a young assistant in New York in 1990, an actress in 1997, an assistant in London in 1998, an Italian model in 2015 and Ms. O’Connor shortly after, according to records and those familiar with the agreements.

In a statement to The Times on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Weinstein said: “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”

He added that he was working with therapists and planning to take a leave of absence to “deal with this issue head on.”

Lisa Bloom, a lawyer advising Mr. Weinstein, said in a statement that “he denies many of the accusations as patently false.” In comments to The Times earlier this week, Mr. Weinstein said that many claims in Ms. O’Connor’s memo were “off base” and that they had parted on good terms.

He and his representatives declined to comment on any of the settlements, including providing information about who paid them. But Mr. Weinstein said that in addressing employee concerns about workplace issues, “my motto is to keep the peace.”

Ms. Bloom, who has been advising Mr. Weinstein over the last year on gender and power dynamics, called him “an old dinosaur learning new ways.” She said she had “explained to him that due to the power difference between a major studio head like him and most others in the industry, whatever his motives, some of his words and behaviors can be perceived as inappropriate, even intimidating.”

Though Ms. O’Connor had been writing only about a two-year period, her memo echoed other women’s complaints. Mr. Weinstein required her to have casting discussions with aspiring actresses after they had private appointments in his hotel room, she said, her description matching those of other former employees. She suspected that she and other female Weinstein employees, she wrote, were being used to facilitate liaisons with “vulnerable women who hope he will get them work.”

The allegations piled up even as Mr. Weinstein helped define popular culture. He has collected six best-picture Oscars and turned out a number of touchstones, from the films “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting” to the television show “Project Runway.” In public, he presents himself as a liberal lion, a champion of women and a winner of not just artistic but humanitarian awards.

In 2015, the year Ms. O’Connor wrote her memo, his company distributed “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary about campus sexual assault. A longtime Democratic donor, he hosted a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton in his Manhattan home last year. He employed Malia Obama, the oldest daughter of former President Barack Obama, as an intern this year, and recently helped endow a faculty chair at Rutgers University in Gloria Steinem’s name. During the Sundance Film Festival in January, when Park City, Utah, held its version of nationwide women’s marches, Mr. Weinstein joined the parade.

“From the outside, it seemed golden — the Oscars, the success, the remarkable cultural impact,” said Mark Gill, former president of Miramax Los Angeles when the company was owned by Disney. “But behind the scenes, it was a mess, and this was the biggest mess of all,” he added, referring to Mr. Weinstein’s treatment of women.

Dozens of Mr. Weinstein’s former and current employees, from assistants to top executives, said they knew of inappropriate conduct while they worked for him. Only a handful said they ever confronted him.

Mr. Weinstein enforced a code of silence; employees of the Weinstein Company have contracts saying they will not criticize it or its leaders in a way that could harm its “business reputation” or “any employee’s personal reputation,” a recent document shows. And most of the women accepting payouts agreed to confidentiality clauses prohibiting them from speaking about the deals or the events that led to them.

Charles Harder, a lawyer representing Mr. Weinstein, said it was not unusual to enter into settlements to avoid lengthy and costly litigation. He added, “It’s not evidence of anything.”

At Fox News, where the conservative icons Roger E. Ailes and Bill O’Reilly were accused of harassment, women have received payouts well into the millions of dollars. But most of the women involved in the Weinstein agreements collected between roughly $80,000 and $150,000, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

In the wake of Ms. O’Connor’s 2015 memo, some Weinstein Company board members and executives, including Mr. Weinstein’s brother and longtime partner, Bob, 62, were alarmed about the allegations, according to several people who spoke on the condition of anonymity. In the end, though, board members were assured there was no need to investigate. After reaching a settlement with Mr. Weinstein, Ms. O’Connor withdrew her complaint and thanked him for the career opportunity he had given her.

“The parties made peace very quickly,” Ms. Bloom said.

Through her lawyer, Nicole Page, Ms. O’Connor declined to be interviewed. In the memo, she explained how unnerved she was by what she witnessed or encountered while a literary scout and production executive at the company. “I am just starting out in my career, and have been and remain fearful about speaking up,” Ms. O’Connor wrote. “But remaining silent is causing me great distress.”

In speaking out about her hotel episode, Ms. Judd said in a recent interview, “Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.”

Ms. Nestor, a law and business school student, accepted Mr. Weinstein’s breakfast invitation at the Peninsula because she did not want to miss an opportunity, she later told colleagues. After she arrived, he offered to help her career while boasting about a series of famous actresses he claimed to have slept with, according to accounts that colleagues compiled after hearing her story and then sent on to company executives.

“She said he was very persistent and focused though she kept saying no for over an hour,” one internal document said. Ms. Nestor, who declined to comment for this article, refused his bargain, the records noted. “She was disappointed that he met with her and did not seem to be interested in her résumé or skill set.” The young woman chose not to report the episode to human resources personnel, but the allegations came to management’s attention through other employees.

Across the years and continents, accounts of Mr. Weinstein’s conduct share a common narrative: Women reported to a hotel for what they thought were work reasons, only to discover that Mr. Weinstein, who has been married for most of three decades, sometimes seemed to have different interests. His home base was New York, but his rolling headquarters were luxury hotels: the Peninsula Beverly Hills and the Savoy in London, the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc near the Cannes Film Festival in France and the Stein Eriksen Lodge near the Sundance Film Festival.

Working for Mr. Weinstein could mean getting him out of bed in the morning and doing “turndown duty” late at night, preparing him for sleep. Like the colleague cited in Ms. O’Connor’s memo, some junior employees required to perform those tasks said they were disturbing.

In interviews, eight women described varying behavior by Mr. Weinstein: appearing nearly or fully naked in front of them, requiring them to be present while he bathed or repeatedly asking for a massage or initiating one himself. The women, typically in their early or middle 20s and hoping to get a toehold in the film industry, said he could switch course quickly — meetings and clipboards one moment, intimate comments the next. One woman advised a peer to wear a parka when summoned for duty as a layer of protection against unwelcome advances.

Laura Madden, a former employee who said Mr. Weinstein prodded her for massages at hotels in Dublin and London beginning in 1991, said he had a way of making anyone who objected feel like an outlier. “It was so manipulative,” she said in an interview. “You constantly question yourself — am I the one who is the problem?”

“I don’t know anything about that,” Mr. Weinstein said.

Most women who told The Times that they experienced misconduct by Mr. Weinstein had never met one another. They range in age from early 20s to late 40s and live in different cities. Some said they did not report the behavior because there were no witnesses and they feared retaliation by Mr. Weinstein. Others said they felt embarrassed. But most confided in co-workers.

Westlake Legal Group image-weinstein-statement-thumbLarge Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein Co sexual harassment Movies Miramax Films Actors and Actresses #MeToo Movement

Statement From Harvey Weinstein

The New York Times received the following statement from Harvey Weinstein responding to allegations about his treatment of women in Hollywood.

Ms. Madden later told Karen Katz, a friend and colleague in the acquisitions department, about Mr. Weinstein’s overtures, including a time she locked herself in the bathroom of his hotel room, sobbing. “We were so young at the time,” said Ms. Katz, now a documentary filmmaker. “We did not understand how wrong it was or how Laura should deal with it.”

Others in the London office said the same. “I was pretty disturbed and angry,” said Sallie Hodges, another former employee, recalling the accounts she heard from colleagues. “That’s kind of the way things were.”

The human resources operation was considered weak in New York and worse in London, so some employees banded together in solidarity. “If a female executive was asked to go to a meeting solo, she and a colleague would generally double up” so as not to be alone with Mr. Weinstein, recalled Mr. Gill, the former president of Miramax Los Angeles.

Many women who worked with Mr. Weinstein said they never experienced sexual harassment or knew of anyone who did, and recalled him as a boss who gave them valuable opportunities at young ages. Some described long and satisfying careers with him, praising him as a mentor and advocate.

But in interviews, some of the former employees who said they had troubling experiences with Mr. Weinstein asked a common question: How could allegations repeating the same pattern — young women, a powerful male producer, even some of the same hotels — have accumulated for almost three decades?

“It wasn’t a secret to the inner circle,” said Kathy DeClesis, Bob Weinstein’s assistant in the early 1990s. She supervised a young woman who left the company abruptly after an encounter with Harvey Weinstein and who later received a settlement, according to several former employees.

Speaking up could have been costly. A job with Mr. Weinstein was a privileged perch at the nexus of money, fame and art, and plenty of his former assistants have risen high in Hollywood. He could be charming and generous: gift baskets, flowers, personal or career help and cash. At the Cannes Film Festival, according to several former colleagues, he sometimes handed out thousands of dollars as impromptu bonuses.

Mr. Weinstein was a volcanic personality, though, given to fits of rage and personal lashings of male and female employees alike. When a female guest of his had to wait for a hotel room upgrade, he yelled that Ms. O’Connor would be better off marrying a “fat, rich Jewish” man because she was probably just good for “being a wife” and “making babies,” she wrote in her memo. (He added some expletives, she said.) His treatment of women was sometimes written off as just another form of toxicity, according to multiple former employees.

In the fall of 1998, a 25-year-old London assistant named Zelda Perkins confronted Mr. Weinstein. According to former colleagues, she and several co-workers had been regularly subjected to inappropriate requests or comments in hotel rooms, and she was particularly concerned about the treatment of another woman in the office. She told Mr. Weinstein that he had to stop, according to the former colleagues, and that she would go public or initiate legal action unless he changed his behavior.

Steve Hutensky, one of Miramax’s entertainment lawyers, was dispatched to London to negotiate a settlement with Ms. Perkins and her lawyer. He declined to comment for this article.

Ms. Perkins, now a theater producer in London, also declined to comment for this article, saying that she could not discuss her work at Miramax or whether she had entered into any agreements.

Months after the settlement, Mr. Weinstein triumphed at the Oscars, with “Life Is Beautiful” and “Shakespeare in Love” winning 10 awards. A few years later, Mr. Weinstein, who had produced a series of British-themed movies, was made a Commander of the British Empire, an honorary title just short of knighthood.

For actors, a meeting with Mr. Weinstein could yield dazzling rewards: scripts, parts, award campaigns, magazine coverage, influence on lucrative endorsement deals. He knew how to blast small films to box office success, and deliver polished dramas like “The King’s Speech” and popular attractions like the “Scary Movie” franchise. Mr. Weinstein’s films helped define femininity, sex and romance, from Catherine Zeta-Jones in “Chicago” to Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

But movies were also his private leverage. When Mr. Weinstein invited Ms. Judd to breakfast in Beverly Hills, she had been shooting the thriller “Kiss the Girls” all night, but the meeting seemed too important to miss. After arriving at the hotel lobby, she was surprised to learn that they would be talking in his suite; she decided to order cereal, she said, so the food would come quickly and she could leave.

Mr. Weinstein soon issued invitation after invitation, she said. Could he give her a massage? When she refused, he suggested a shoulder rub. She rejected that too, she recalled. He steered her toward a closet, asking her to help pick out his clothing for the day, and then toward the bathroom. Would she watch him take a shower? she remembered him saying.

“I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” Ms. Judd said. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”

To get out of the room, she said, she quipped that if Mr. Weinstein wanted to touch her, she would first have to win an Oscar in one of his movies. She recalled feeling “panicky, trapped,” she said in the interview. “There’s a lot on the line, the cachet that came with Miramax.”

Not long afterward, she related what had happened to her mother, the singer Naomi Judd, who confirmed their conversation to a Times reporter. Years later, Ashley Judd appeared in two Weinstein films without incident, she said. In 2015, she shared an account of the episode in the hotel room with “Variety” without naming the man involved.

In 1997, Mr. Weinstein reached a previously undisclosed settlement with Rose McGowan, then a 23-year-old-actress, after an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival. The $100,000 settlement was “not to be construed as an admission” by Mr. Weinstein, but intended to “avoid litigation and buy peace,” according to the legal document, which was reviewed by The Times. Ms. McGowan had just appeared in the slasher film “Scream” and would later star in the television show “Charmed.” She declined to comment.

Just months before Ms. O’Connor wrote her memo, a young female employee quit after complaining of being forced to arrange what she believed to be assignations for Mr. Weinstein, according to two people familiar with her departure. The woman, who asked not to be identified to protect her privacy, said a nondisclosure agreement prevented her from commenting.

Soon, complaints about Mr. Weinstein’s behavior prompted the board of his company to take notice.

In March 2015, Mr. Weinstein had invited Ambra Battilana, an Italian model and aspiring actress, to his TriBeCa office on a Friday evening to discuss her career. Within hours, she called the police. Ms. Battilana told them that Mr. Weinstein had grabbed her breasts after asking if they were real and put his hands up her skirt, the police report says.

The claims were taken up by the New York Police Department’s Special Victims Squad and splashed across the pages of tabloids, along with reports that the woman had worked with investigators to secretly record a confession from Mr. Weinstein. The Manhattan district attorney’s office later declined to bring charges.

But Mr. Weinstein made a payment to Ms. Battilana, according to people familiar with the settlement, speaking on the condition of anonymity about the confidential agreement.

The public nature of the episode concerned some executives and board members of the Weinstein Company. (Harvey and Bob Weinstein together own 42 percent of the privately held business.) When several board members pressed Mr. Weinstein about it, he insisted that the woman had set him up, colleagues recalled.

Ms. Battilana had testified in court proceedings against associates of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy who are accused of procuring women for alleged sex parties, and the Italian news media also reported that, years ago, Ms. Battilana accused a septuagenarian boyfriend of sexual harassment, a complaint that was apparently dismissed. Ms. Battilana did not respond to requests for comment. Her lawyer, Mauro Rufini, could not be reached for comment.

After the episode, Lance Maerov, a board member, said he successfully pushed for a code of behavior for the company that included detailed language about sexual harassment.

Then Ms. O’Connor’s memo hit, with page after page of detailed accusations. In describing the experiences of women at the company, including her own, she wrote, “The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.”

She was a valued employee — Mr. Weinstein described her as “fantastic,” “a great person,” “a brilliant executive” — so the complaint rattled top executives, including Bob Weinstein. When the board was notified of it by email, Mr. Maerov insisted that an outside lawyer determine whether the allegations were true, he said in an interview.

But the inquiry never happened. Mr. Weinstein had reached a settlement with Ms. O’Connor, and there was no longer anything to investigate.

“Because this matter has been resolved and no further action is required, I withdraw my complaint,” Ms. O’Connor wrote in an email to the head of human resources six days after sending her memo. She also wrote a letter to Mr. Weinstein thanking him for the opportunity to learn about the entertainment industry.

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A Top L Brands Executive Complained of Harassment. Then She Was Locked Out.

Westlake Legal Group 00stewart3-facebookJumbo A Top L Brands Executive Complained of Harassment. Then She Was Locked Out. Wexner, Leslie H Victoria's Secret sexual harassment Sex Crimes Razek, Edward (1948- ) Mitro, Monica L Brands Inc. discrimination Boards of Directors Appointments and Executive Changes #MeToo Movement

In the more than two years since Harvey Weinstein was exposed as a sexual predator, the #MeToo movement has wrought a revolution in corporate governance — or so it would seem.

Corporations have diversified their boards with experts on inclusion. Board members have attended harassment training sessions and updated codes of conduct. Procedures have been established for handling complaints that reach the board. A key tenet: No one who brings a credible allegation to the board should face retaliation.

Then there’s L Brands.

As the holding company for Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, major brands with a heavily female clientele, L Brands “should be especially sensitive” to how allegations of gender discrimination and sexual misconduct are handled, said Charles M. Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. The scrutiny the company has undergone since public disclosure of the inexplicably close ties between the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein and Leslie H. Wexner, L Brands’ chief executive, chairman and major shareholder, should only have heightened board concerns and sensitivities, he added.

Last year, L Brands took what seemed like significant steps to address its lack of diverse views and persistent claims of board cronyism with Mr. Wexner. It added two prominent women as independent board members: Anne Sheehan, a longtime advocate of good corporate governance, and Sarah E. Nash, a former J.P. Morgan executive and the chief executive of Novagard Solutions. Already on board was Patricia S. Bellinger, who is chief of staff to Harvard University’s president, Lawrence Bacow, and an expert on diversity and inclusion.

“We strictly prohibit retaliation for reporting concerns,” L Brands says on its website. “Anyone who retaliates or tries to retaliate against an individual who raises a concern in relation to this policy or who participates in the investigation, will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.”

Which makes L Brands’ recent treatment of one of its highest-ranking female executives, Monica Mitro, all the more troublesome.

Ms. Mitro was until last fall the executive vice president of public relations for Victoria’s Secret. She was a well-known figure in fashion and media circles who had spent decades at the company.

But for years, Ms. Mitro suffered verbal abuse at the hands of Ed Razek, her boss and a top executive at L Brands, according to colleagues who witnessed numerous instances of mistreatment. At times, they said, Ms. Mitro was left in tears.

Mr. Razek was the subject of repeated complaints, including trying to kiss models, get them to sit on his lap and making unwanted advances, The New York Times reported this weekend. An employee’s human resources complaint that was reviewed by The Times listed more than a dozen allegations, including demeaning comments and inappropriate touching of women. Mr. Razek said the allegations against him were “categorically untrue, misconstrued or taken out of context.”

Last fall, not long after Mr. Razek left the company and as rumors of imminent layoffs in Ms. Mitro’s marketing area were swirling, she decided it was time to speak up.

She didn’t think she could trust human resources, according to people familiar with her thinking, so she took her complaints of sexual harassment and gender discrimination — involving her and others — to someone she believed would inform the board of directors.

That person, according to people familiar with the exchange, was David A. Kollat, who had recently stepped down after 43 years on the boards of L Brands and its predecessors. He and Ms. Mitro had become close over her long tenure at the company, and she spoke with him directly.

Before stepping down, Mr. Kollat had been an independent director at L Brands, even though he was widely known to be close to Mr. Wexner. He had worked directly under Mr. Wexner for 10 years, serving as executive vice president for Mr. Wexner’s retail chain, The Limited.

It isn’t clear exactly what Mr. Kollat did with the information that Ms. Mitro provided. Ms. Mitro was not available for comment. Mr. Kollat, who is also the lead director at the footwear maker Wolverine Worldwide, did not respond to multiple messages. And Tammy Myers, a spokeswoman for L Brands, declined to say, citing a confidentiality agreement.

Mr. Elson, the Delaware professor, said the proper course would have been for Mr. Kollat to inform the appropriate board committee (typically, the audit committee) and for the board to hire outside counsel to look into the matter.

“The responsibility of the board is to conduct a thorough, independent investigation,” Mr. Elson said. “Under no circumstances should it punish or retaliate against the person bringing the complaint or appear to do so.”

The first inkling that Ms. Mitro was in trouble came the day after her complaint.

An L Brands facilities manager told her how sorry she was: Ms. Mitro’s name was on a list of employees whose access to the building was about to be terminated, according to people familiar with the day’s events. Later that day, the head of human resources at Victoria’s Secret told Ms. Mitro that she was being placed on paid administrative leave, these people said. Ms. Mitro wasn’t told why.

Ms. Mitro’s colleagues never saw her in the office again, leaving many colleagues with the impression that L Brands had retaliated against her, according to co-workers at the time.

The suddenness with which Ms. Mitro was locked out and the lack of an explanation raise serious questions about L Brands’ commitment to its policy of protecting against retaliation.

How did Mr. Kollat handle her complaint? Instead of his former board colleagues, did he go directly to Mr. Wexner, or someone close to him? It is almost inconceivable that Ms. Mitro — a senior executive at Mr. Wexner’s flagship brand — would have been locked out of the building without his knowledge or approval.

Two people familiar with the board’s deliberations said Ms. Mitro’s complaint did reach the board — but only after Ms. Mitro was gone.

It’s not unheard-of for companies to place an employee on leave, but Ellen Zucker, an expert on employment law and a partner at the law firm Burns & Levinson, called the L Brands scenario “a textbook case of how not to handle a sexual harassment complaint” after I described it to her. “It’s especially important to guard against anything that might look like retaliation.”

Mr. Elson, the Delaware professor, called it “absolutely not the right response.”

“This is the kind of thing that happened 20 years ago,” he said.

In response to my questions, Ms. Myers, the L Brands spokeswoman, said the company and its board were determined to do better. In a statement — made on behalf of the board’s independent directors — she said the company was “intensely focused” on issues that affect its 90 percent female work force.

“With the adoption in recent years of even more robust anti-harassment policies, hotline reporting and training, we have made significant strides in ensuring that the company provides a safe, welcoming, and empowering workplace for every associate,” she said. “We regret any instance where we did not achieve this objective and are fully committed to continuous improvement and complete accountability.”

Ms. Zucker said it was all too common that companies choose to protect high-ranking executives rather than those employees who bring complaints against them.

“One reason retaliation claims are so prevalent is that it’s human nature to protect the people you know and like,” she said. “The challenge for any governing body is that’s precisely the inclination you have to guard against.”

It’s rare that details of retaliation claims ever become publicly known, though. Such claims, or even the hint of them, raise the specter of a lawsuit, which companies quickly try to head off.

That’s exactly what happened here.

Ms. Mitro hired lawyers at Browne George Ross, a law firm in Los Angeles, and, according to people close to her, recently reached a settlement with L Brands that bars her from disclosing the terms or discussing her claims.

That silence speaks volumes.

Jessica Silver-Greenberg contributed reporting.

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‘Angels’ in Hell: The Culture of Misogyny Inside Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret defined femininity for millions of women. Its catalog and fashion shows were popular touchstones. For models, landing a spot as an “Angel” all but guaranteed international stardom.

But inside the company, two powerful men presided over an entrenched culture of misogyny, bullying and harassment, according to interviews with more than 30 current and former executives, employees, contractors and models, as well as court filings and other documents.

Ed Razek, for decades one of the top executives at L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, was the subject of repeated complaints about inappropriate conduct. He tried to kiss models. He asked them to sit on his lap. He touched one’s crotch ahead of the 2018 Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

Executives said they had alerted Leslie Wexner, the billionaire founder and chief executive of L Brands, about his deputy’s pattern of behavior. Some women who complained faced retaliation. One model, Andi Muise, said Victoria’s Secret had stopped hiring her for its fashion shows after she rebuffed Mr. Razek’s advances.

A number of the brand’s models agreed to pose nude, often without being paid, for a prominent Victoria’s Secret photographer who later used some pictures in an expensive coffee-table book — an arrangement that made L Brands executives uncomfortable about women feeling pressured to take their clothes off.

The atmosphere was set at the top. Mr. Razek, the chief marketing officer, was perceived as Mr. Wexner’s proxy, leaving many employees with the impression he was invincible, according to current and former employees. On multiple occasions, Mr. Wexner himself was heard demeaning women.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158911146_32064d73-9783-4ada-a855-b79d5dc19491-articleLarge ‘Angels’ in Hell: The Culture of Misogyny Inside Victoria’s Secret Workplace Hazards and Violations Wexner, Leslie Victoria's Secret sexual harassment Razek, Edward (1948- ) Models (Professional) L Brands Inc.

Leslie Wexner, left, and Ed Razek, the two men who steered Victoria’s Secret.Credit…Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Fragrance Foundation

“What was most alarming to me, as someone who was always raised as an independent woman, was just how ingrained this behavior was,” said Casey Crowe Taylor, a former public relations employee at Victoria’s Secret who said she had witnessed Mr. Razek’s conduct. “This abuse was just laughed off and accepted as normal. It was almost like brainwashing. And anyone who tried to do anything about it wasn’t just ignored. They were punished.”

The interviews with the models and employees add to a picture of Victoria’s Secret as a troubled organization, an image that was already coming into focus last year when Mr. Wexner’s ties to the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein became public. Mr. Epstein, who managed Mr. Wexner’s multibillion-dollar fortune, lured some young women by posing as a recruiter for Victoria’s Secret models.

L Brands, the publicly traded company that also owns Bath & Body Works, is on the brink of a high-stakes transition. The annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show has been canceled after nearly two decades on network TV. Mr. Razek, 71, stepped down from L Brands in August. And Mr. Wexner, 82, is exploring plans to retire and to sell the lingerie company, people familiar with the matter said.

As those plans progress, L Brands’ treatment of women is likely to come under even closer scrutiny.

In response to detailed questions from The New York Times, Tammy Roberts Myers, a spokeswoman for L Brands, provided a statement on behalf of the board’s independent directors. She said that the company “is intensely focused” on corporate governance, workplace and compliance practices and that it had “made significant strides.”

“We regret any instance where we did not achieve this objective and are fully committed to continuous improvement and complete accountability,” she said. The statement did not dispute any of The Times’s reporting.

Mr. Razek said in an email: “The accusations in this reporting are categorically untrue, misconstrued or taken out of context. I’ve been fortunate to work with countless, world-class models and gifted professionals and take great pride in the mutual respect we have for each other.” He declined to comment on a detailed list of allegations.

Thomas Davies, a spokesman for Mr. Wexner, declined to comment.

Victoria’s Secret, which Mr. Wexner bought for $1 million in 1982 and turned into a lingerie powerhouse, is struggling.

The societal norms defining beauty and sexiness have been changing for years, with a greater value on a wide range of body types, skin colors and gender identities. Victoria’s Secret hasn’t kept pace. Some of its ad campaigns, for example, seem more like a stereotypical male fantasy — the director Michael Bay filmed a TV spot in which scantily clad models strutted in front of helicopters, motorcycles and fiery explosions — than a realistic encapsulation of what women want.

With its sales declining, Victoria’s Secret has been closing stores. Shares of L Brands have fallen more than 75 percent from their 2015 peak.

Six current and former executives said in interviews that when they tried to steer the company away from what one called its “porny” image, they were rebuffed. Three said they had been driven out of the company.

Criticism of Victoria’s Secret’s anachronistic marketing went viral in 2018 when Mr. Razek expressed no interest in casting plus-size and “transsexual” models in the fashion show.

Then, last summer, Mr. Epstein was charged with sex trafficking, and the festering business problems at Victoria’s Secret escalated into a public crisis.

Mr. Wexner and Mr. Epstein had been tight. The retail tycoon gave the financier carte blanche to manage his billions, elevating Mr. Epstein’s stature and affording him an opulent lifestyle. Mr. Wexner has said he and Mr. Epstein parted ways around 2007, the year after Florida prosecutors charged him with a sex crime.

On multiple occasions from 1995 through 2006, Mr. Epstein lied to aspiring models that he worked for Victoria’s Secret and could help them land gigs. He invited them for auditions, which at least twice ended with Mr. Epstein assaulting them, according to the women and court filings.

Jeffrey Epstein, second from the left, at the first fashion show in 1995.Credit…Patrick McMullan, via Getty Images An “Angel” at the 1998 show, an event that Mr. Razek developed into a cultural phenomenon.Credit…Stephane Cardinale/Sygma, via Getty Images

“I had spent all of my savings getting Victoria’s Secret lingerie to prepare for what I thought would be my audition,” a woman identified as Jane Doe said in a statement read aloud last summer in a federal court hearing in the Epstein case. “But instead it seemed like a casting call for prostitution. I felt like I was in hell.”

Three L Brands executives said Mr. Wexner was alerted in the mid-1990s about Mr. Epstein’s attempts to recruit women. The executives said there was no sign that Mr. Wexner had acted on the complaints.

After Mr. Epstein’s arrest last summer, L Brands said, it hired the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell to conduct “a thorough review” of the matter at the request of its board of directors. The exact focus of the review is unclear. Mr. Epstein committed suicide in jail in August while he awaited trial on federal sex-trafficking charges.

Davis Polk has worked for L Brands for years. Mr. Wexner’s wife, Abigail, previously worked at the firm. Dennis S. Hersch, a former L Brands board member and a financial adviser to the Wexners, was a longtime partner at Davis Polk. The law firm also has contributed money to Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts.

Employees interviewed for this article said Davis Polk had not contacted them.

A Davis Polk spokeswoman didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“With the exception of Les, I’ve been with L Brands longer than anyone,” Mr. Razek wrote to employees in August when he announced he was leaving the company he had joined in 1983.

Mr. Razek was instrumental in selecting the brand’s supermodels — known as “Angels” and bestowed with enormous, feathery wings — and in creating the company’s macho TV ads.

But his biggest legacy was the annual fashion show, which became a global cultural phenomenon.

“That’s really where he sunk his teeth into the business,” said Cynthia Fedus-Fields, the former chief executive of the Victoria’s Secret division responsible for its catalog. By 2000, she said, Mr. Razek had grown so powerful that “he spoke for Les.”

Sometimes Mr. Wexner spoke for himself.

In March, at a meeting at Victoria’s Secret headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, an employee asked Mr. Wexner what he thought about the retail industry’s embrace of different body types. He was dismissive.

“Nobody goes to a plastic surgeon and says, ‘Make me fat,’” Mr. Wexner replied, according to two attendees.

Mr. Razek often reminded models that their careers were in his hands, according to models and current and former executives who heard his remarks.

Alyssa Miller, who had been an occasional Victoria’s Secret model, described Mr. Razek as someone who exuded “toxic masculinity.” She summed up his attitude as: “I am the holder of the power. I can make you or break you.”

At castings, Mr. Razek sometimes asked models in their bras and underwear for their phone numbers, according to three people who witnessed his advances. He urged others to sit on his lap. Two models said he had asked them to have private dinners with him.

One was Ms. Muise. In 2007, after two years of wearing the coveted angel wings in the Victoria’s Secret runway show, the 19-year-old was invited to dinner with Mr. Razek. She was excited to cultivate a professional relationship with one of the fashion industry’s most powerful men, she said.

Mr. Razek picked her up in a chauffeured car. On the way to the restaurant, he tried to kiss her, she said. Ms. Muise rebuffed him; Mr. Razek persisted.

For months, he sent her intimate emails, which The Times reviewed. At one point he suggested they move in together in his house in Turks and Caicos. Another time, he urged Ms. Muise to help him find a home in the Dominican Republic for them to share.

“I need someplace sexy to take you!” he wrote.

Ms. Muise maintained a polite tone in her emails, trying to protect her career. When Mr. Razek asked her to come to his New York home for dinner, Ms. Muise said the prospect of dining alone with Mr. Razek made her uneasy; she skipped the dinner.

She soon learned that for the first time in four years, Victoria’s Secret had not picked her for its 2008 fashion show.

In 2018, at a fitting ahead of the fashion show, the supermodel Bella Hadid was being measured for underwear that would meet broadcast standards. Mr. Razek sat on a couch, watching.

“Forget the panties,” he declared, according to three people who were there and a fourth who was told about it. The bigger question, he said, was whether the TV network would let Ms. Hadid walk “down the runway with those perfect titties.” (One witness remembered Mr. Razek using the word “breasts,” not “titties.”)

At the same fitting, Mr. Razek placed his hand on another model’s underwear-clad crotch, three people said.

An employee complained to the human resources department about Mr. Razek’s behavior, according to three people. The employee presented H.R. with a document last summer listing more than a dozen allegations about Mr. Razek, including his demeaning comments and inappropriate touching of women, according to a copy of the document reviewed by The Times.

It wasn’t the first H.R. complaint about him.

At a photo shoot in June 2015, the company put out a buffet lunch for staff. Ms. Crowe Taylor, the public relations employee, went to get seconds. Mr. Razek intercepted her, she said. He blocked her path and looked her up and down. Then, with dozens of people watching and Ms. Crowe Taylor holding her empty plate, he tore into her, berating her about her weight and telling her to lay off the pasta and bread.

Ms. Crowe Taylor, who was 5-foot-10 and 140 pounds, fled to a bathroom and burst into tears. She said that she had complained to H.R. but that as far as she could tell, nothing happened. She quit weeks later.

In October, shortly after Mr. Razek had left the company, Monica Mitro, a top public-relations executive at Victoria’s Secret, lodged a harassment complaint against him with a former member of the L Brands board of directors, according to five people familiar with the matter. She told colleagues that she had gone to the former director because she didn’t trust the H.R. department.

The next day, the head of H.R. told Ms. Mitro that she was being placed on administrative leave, the people said. She recently reached a financial settlement with the company, they said.

Mr. Razek’s son, Scott, also worked at Victoria’s Secret. Sometime after the H.R. department was told about his mistreatment of a female colleague, he was transferred to Bath & Body Works, according to four people familiar with the matter. He didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The woman he mistreated later received a settlement from Victoria’s Secret, according to several current and former employees.

Mr. Wexner was seldom in New York, where much of the fashion show’s staff was based, leaving employees with the impression that Mr. Razek was his proxy. Mr. Razek flaunted that power, invoking Mr. Wexner’s name to get his way.

Even as complaints piled up, the elder Mr. Razek maintained Mr. Wexner’s support. In 2013, Mr. Wexner helped raise a $1.2 million fund in Mr. Razek’s name at Ohio State University’s cancer center.

Russell James was one of Victoria’s Secret’s go-to photographers. The company at times paid him tens of thousands of dollars a day, according to draft contracts reviewed by The Times.

At the end of sessions with models, Mr. James sometimes asked if they would be photographed nude, according to models and L Brands executives. Mr. James was popular; he had a knack for making women feel comfortable. He also had a close relationship with Mr. Razek. The women often consented.

The nude photo shoots weren’t covered under the models’ contracts with Victoria’s Secret, which meant they weren’t paid for the extra work.

In the industry, “everyone is using their influence to get something,” said Ms. Miller, the model. “With Russell, it was getting girls to pose for his books or portrait series nude.”

In 2014, Mr. James published a glossy collectors’ book, “Angels,” which featured some of the nude photos. The women agreed to have their photos included in the book, according to Martin Singer, a lawyer for Mr. James.

Two versions of the books currently sell on Mr. James’s website for $1,800 and $3,600. Victoria’s Secret hosted a launch event for “Angels” during New York fashion week in 2014. Attendees included supermodels and the company’s chief executive at the time, Sharen Turney.

“This ample volume offers an unprecedented and personal view into James’s most intimate portrait sittings,” the book’s jacket says, noting that Mr. James met many of the women during his 15 years working for Victoria’s Secret. “Readers will be taken on a voyeuristic journey into a world of subtle provocation.”

At one point, a poster-size version of one of the book’s photos was displayed in a Victoria’s Secret store in Las Vegas. The model’s agent complained to Victoria’s Secret that his client’s photo was being used in the store without her consent. Mr. James also complained about it and asked for it to be removed, according to Mr. Singer. The company took down the photo.

In 2010, Alison Nix, a 22-year-old model who had worked occasionally with Victoria’s Secret, was invited to attend a weekend event to raise money for the nonprofit foundation run by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. The venue was Mr. Branson’s private Necker Island in the Caribbean.

The live-streamed event, hosted by Mr. Branson and Mr. James, was billed as featuring “some of the world’s most stunning supermodels.”

Ms. Nix said her agent had told her that if she chose to go on the all-expenses-paid trip, she’d be expected to pose for nude beach photos shot by Mr. James. She said that was fine. She was left with the impression, she said, that “if Russell likes you, you could start working with Victoria’s Secret.”

Mr. Singer, the lawyer for Mr. James, said his client had no influence over whom Victoria’s Secret selected as models. He said models were not required to pose for photos, nude or otherwise. He said Mr. James had agreed to shoot the nude photos at Necker Island at the request of the models and their agents “as a favor and professional courtesy.”

Ms. Nix called Mr. Singer’s comments “absurd.”

She said that she and other models who attended the event were provided with copious amounts of alcohol and were expected to mingle with men, including Mr. Branson.

“We were shipped out there, and all these rich men were flirting with us,” she recalled. She said the models were asking themselves, “Are we here as high-end prostitutes or for charity?”

The last day on the island, Ms. Nix said, she and at least three other models lined up to have their nude photos shot by Mr. James.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Branson said he had “no knowledge of anyone being invited to the event for any reason” beside the charity fund-raiser.

Two photos of Ms. Nix from that weekend — one, in profile, with her breasts obscured but her bare bottom exposed — appeared near the middle of Mr. James’s “Angels” book, with her consent.

Ms. Nix never landed another modeling gig with Victoria’s Secret. Was she disappointed?

“To be honest, I didn’t expect much after the trip,” she said. “I could tell I wasn’t right for the brand.”

Emily Steel and Mike Baker contributed reporting. Susan Beachy contributed research.

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