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What Donald Trump’s ‘Access Hollywood’ Weekend Says About 2020

Donald J. Trump, down and unwilling to get out, saw only one way back up: Go lower.

Two days had passed since the signal humiliation of his political life — the publication of audio in which Mr. Trump boasted about forcing himself on women — and the candidate was desperate to redirect the conversation. The result, less than two hours before an October 2016 debate against Hillary Clinton in St. Louis, was a gambit so secretive that several concerned parties were left in the dark.

Campaign advisers told Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman who was helping with debate preparations inside the team’s hotel suite, that Mr. Trump had to leave for a perfunctory “meet and greet.” They feared that Mr. Priebus would object if he knew the truth: Mr. Trump would be appearing on camera with women who had for years accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct — a brazen attempt to turn the issue of mistreating women back against the Clinton family.

And those accusers, who had been invited to the debate as surprise Trump guests but had little warning on the fuller itinerary, seemed unsure themselves about what awaited them as they were led into a reception room at the hotel. “I had no idea what we were going in there for,” one of them, Juanita Broaddrick, recalled. “But that doesn’t matter. I would do it all again.”

Before the room’s doors opened to the media and the women were revealed, Stephen K. Bannon, the campaign’s chief executive, shared his vision for the spectacle: “They’re going to rub up on you and be crying,” he remembered telling Mr. Trump. “And you’re going to be empathetic.”

Mr. Trump closed his eyes, Mr. Bannon said, tilting his head back “like a Roman emperor.”

“I love it,” the future president ruled.

Four years later, Mr. Trump looks, to all the political world, like a significant underdog again. His advisers concede that if the election were held today, he would lose to Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, most likely by a considerable margin.

But as the president road-tests a series of scattershot tactics to kick-start his struggling campaign — race-baiting through a national crisis; defending symbols of the Confederacy; denying the objective realities of a pandemic — allies and adversaries say their minds have wandered lately to his lowest moment in 2016, the last time his chances appeared so dire.

The release and aftermath of the so-called “Access Hollywood” tape is at once a reminder of how quickly the contours of an election can change and of how far Mr. Trump is willing to go to change them. While some close to Mr. Trump have at times questioned his focus and resolve in this re-election, his behavior over a weekend of electoral peril in 2016 supplies a case study in how he can respond when he feels cornered — when he suspects he may lose.

“That’s his strength,” said Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director who has since called for Mr. Trump’s defeat. “When God was handing out shame genes, Trump picked up shameless genes from that countertop.”

Mr. Trump’s capacity for earth-scorching politics, rarely in doubt, has often been most conspicuous in times of campaign distress. When Ben Carson surpassed him in some polls of Republican voters in 2015, Mr. Trump appeared to swipe at his rival’s faith. When Ted Cruz proved a resilient primary foe, Mr. Trump posted an unflattering picture of Mr. Cruz’s wife and threatened to “spill the beans” about her, without elaborating.

This is a man who urged a foreign power to investigate Mr. Biden, more than a year before Election Day 2020, spawning an impeachment inquiry at home.

In none of those episodes was Mr. Trump confronting the headwinds he faces now, compelling veterans of 2016 to predict an ugliness in the coming months that will test the bounds of even the most cynical strategist’s imagination.

They have advised the Biden campaign, sitting comfortably ahead in July, to brace itself.

“It makes sense for the Biden team to understand why they’re winning today,” said Robby Mook, Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager. “It makes even more sense for them to think about how they lose.”

Of course, even set against a trove of October surprises through history, 2016 was something different. In a span of hours on Friday, Oct. 7, intelligence community leaders publicly accused Russia of interfering in the election, The Washington Post published the “Access Hollywood” article and WikiLeaks began disseminating hacked emails from John D. Podesta, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman — timing that her team did not find coincidental.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, looked into whether the release of Mr. Podesta’s emails was connected to the “Access Hollywood” tape but did not publicly establish a link to the Trump campaign. In the end, many Clinton aides believe, nothing that day affected the election as much as a letter three weeks later from James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, reviving the topic of Mrs. Clinton’s private email server.

For admirers of Mr. Trump, these flashbacks register now as a hopeful memory, a testament to the unpredictability that has long defined his political arc and might yet again.

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Updated 2020-07-13T17:11:27.692Z

Today, few of them linger on the details of the weekend when Mr. Trump seemed all but done: the mass of Republicans urging him to quit; the taped apology that top advisers have likened to a “hostage video”; a public relations calamity so total that even the makers of Tic Tacs, the breath-fresheners referenced by Mr. Trump on the audio, sent a statement condemning him.

What supporters do remember is what it felt like to see Mr. Trump fight back.

“I found that a lot of women reacted to his strength. And I continue to hear that,” said Mica Mosbacher, a Republican fund-raiser who sits on the “Women for Trump” 2020 advisory board. “No one’s perfect.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_112849274_780714d4-bfc9-4041-883c-8001fae74070-articleLarge What Donald Trump’s ‘Access Hollywood’ Weekend Says About 2020 Trump, Donald J sexual harassment Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Clinton, Hillary Rodham
Credit…Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Mr. Trump’s first instinct, as ever, was defiance: It wasn’t me.

Debate practice at Trump Tower had been sidetracked by the low hum of panic, as an aide, Hope Hicks, handed him a collection of papers — a transcript of his vulgar remarks, recorded in 2005 and provided by The Post, which was seeking comment from the campaign before publication.

“I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet.”

“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

“Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Mr. Trump said these did not sound like things he would say. Advisers allowed themselves to wonder, briefly, if it had all been a misunderstanding.

Then the audio file landed. Mr. Trump listened.

“It’s me,” he said.

Across the river in Brooklyn, several Clinton aides had been huddling in Mr. Mook’s office, plotting how best to respond to what they had assumed would be the story of the day: the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian meddling. A commotion in the headquarters’ wider work space drew them out.

By this point in the race, her staff members had come to view their task as a kind of teeth-gritting quest, more slog than victory march, pocked with self-inflicted stumbles and external shocks in relentless measure.

Even ostensible political boosts — and this certainly looked like one — seemed to arrive with a side of nausea.

“Here’s the order,” said Jennifer Palmieri, the campaign’s communications director, recalling her sequence of emotions at the tape’s release: “Revulsion at what he said, disappointment that no one was going to care about Russia and dread for Hillary about how unhinged he was going to become.”

Mrs. Clinton herself was at a hotel in suburban Westchester County, where she and advisers were holding debate sessions. On the televisions in a dining area, the group could see cable-news chyrons about the tape. But initially, nobody could work the sound.

In her 2017 memoir, Mrs. Clinton described an abiding sadness upon hearing Mr. Trump’s words eventually. “That tape is never going away,” she wrote. “It’s part of our history now.”

Yet her husband’s history, entwined with her own, also made the contents of the recording especially uncomfortable for the campaign.

Even before “Access Hollywood,” her aides had raised the prospect of Mr. Trump highlighting Mr. Clinton’s accusers (and Mrs. Clinton’s posture toward them) to excuse his own misdeeds. And quickly, Mr. Trump signaled that Mr. Clinton’s past would figure in his campaign’s immediate future.

In a statement to reporters as the story went live, Mr. Trump described his own comments as “locker room banter” — a phrase he came up with himself, advisers say — and accused Mr. Clinton of saying “far worse to me on the golf course.”

“I apologize,” Mr. Trump concluded, “if anyone was offended.”

Some Trump confidantes, including his daughter Ivanka, urged him to demonstrate less qualified contrition. He agreed to record a video, to be released hours later, but resisted much of the advice.

The ensuing product — a surreal 90-second address, delivered in front of a faux skyline — was a hodgepodge of his team’s dueling impulses.

He issued a rare admission of outright fault (“I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize”), framed his life as a tale of growth (“my travels have also changed me”) and pivoted swiftly to accusing the Clintons of hypocrisy.

“We will discuss this more in the coming days,” he pledged. “See you at the debate on Sunday.”

Credit…Spencer Platt/Getty Images

If many top Republicans had gotten their way, Mr. Trump would not have made it to the debate on Sunday.

Publicly and privately, lawmakers were calling on him to step aside and allow Mike Pence to lead the ticket. Party officials projected devastation down-ballot. Others simply could not stomach associating with the nominee.

“I just felt embarrassed,” said Carlos Curbelo, a former Republican congressman who was at the time seeking re-election to a competitive South Florida seat and had already disavowed Mr. Trump’s campaign. “In Spanish, we have this concept called ‘pena ajena.’ You’re not involved in the activity, but you feel shame.”

Speaker Paul D. Ryan disinvited Mr. Trump from a Saturday rally at which they were slated to appear together in Wisconsin. “There is a bit of an elephant in the room,” Mr. Ryan told the crowd, navigating persistent jeers.

“Where is Trump?” attendees shouted.

Back in New York, junior aides tracked the defections, exchanging mutters and fears.

“There’s another.”


“Are we ever going to be able to work in Washington again?”

The boss was more puckish, if only to try lightening the mood: “Certainly has been an interesting 24 hours!” he tweeted on Saturday morning.

He gathered senior staff members inside Trump Tower and asked Mr. Priebus what he was hearing. What the party chairman was hearing, he answered, was that Mr. Trump could either drop out or lose in a historic landslide.

“So,” Mr. Trump said, “what’s the good news?”

The flourish resonates four years later as a tidy encapsulation of the Trumpian worldview in a campaign crisis. In recent months, he has been known to lash out at advisers who share dispiriting poll numbers, insisting that his position cannot be so precarious.

People who know him cite this semi-magical thinking as a kind of political superpower, when harnessed effectively.

“Don’t underestimate his personal resiliency,” Mr. Scaramucci said. He recalled the president’s advice to him once about news-cycle velocity: “He said, ‘Yeah, you get negative press. It lasts about a week. And then it blows over, and they’re onto something else, and nobody cares.’”

On this weekend, though, Trump advisers sensed that little would blow over on its own.

The idea of deploying Mr. Clinton’s accusers had filtered through the Trump orbit for months, discussed among Mr. Bannon and allies like Aaron Klein of Breitbart News — the hard-right, Trump-supporting site that Mr. Bannon had run — and long promoted by Roger J. Stone Jr., the informal Trump adviser and infamous Republican hell-raiser. (On Friday, Mr. Trump commuted Mr. Stone’s sentence on seven felony crimes after he had been convicted last year of obstructing a congressional investigation into the Trump 2016 campaign and possible ties to Russia.)

Just before “Billy Bush weekend,” as Mr. Bannon calls it (a nod to the “Access Hollywood” personality on tape with Mr. Trump), three of the Clinton accusers had been in Washington for interviews with Mr. Klein.

As Republican pleas for Mr. Trump’s ouster multiplied, Mr. Bannon recognized an opportunity. He said he called Mr. Klein, now an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and asked how the Clinton material looked. The answer pleased him. New travel arrangements were made.

In the meantime, Mr. Trump sought temporary comfort in a familiar balm: applause.

By 5 p.m. on Saturday, supporters had clustered along Fifth Avenue, waving signs from the sidewalk. Mr. Trump descended to the marbled lobby, joined by his eldest son and his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, and stepped through the glass front door.

He pumped his right fist, to cheers. Fans reached out to graze his suit jacket.

A reporter asked if he would stay in the race. “Hundred percent,” Mr. Trump replied.

And then he turned back inside, clapping on the way.

Credit…Evan Vucci/Associated Press

Mr. Trump seemed to be calling his shot.

“EXCLUSIVE,” he tweeted Sunday morning, sharing a Breitbart link. “Video Interview: Bill Clinton Accuser Juanita Broaddrick Relives Brutal Rapes.”

There was little doubt that Mr. Trump would talk about women from the Clintons’ past in St. Louis. But few knew that four women were on their way themselves: three who had accused Mr. Clinton of sexual misconduct — Ms. Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones — and a fourth, Kathy Shelton, who in her youth said she was raped by a man whom Mrs. Clinton represented as a court-appointed defense lawyer in the 1970s.

Mr. Clinton has long denied wrongdoing in these three instances; Mrs. Clinton has said she was displeased at the court appointment in the Shelton case but had little choice but to accept it.

A couple of hours before the debate, Ms. Broaddrick said, she was taken up a hotel service elevator to meet Mr. Trump privately with Ms. Willey and Ms. Shelton. Ms. Jones arrived later, in time for the next portion.

“It was delightful,” Ms. Broaddrick said. “And then as we start to leave, Steve Bannon says, ‘Let’s go through this door here.’”

The women were ushered into an adjacent room with a long table, according to Ms. Broaddrick, who assumed a catered meal was imminent. They were asked to sit in a row, shoulder to shoulder. Then Mr. Trump entered and took a seat between them, with two chairs on each side of him.

“Let them in,” the candidate instructed.

The doors opened to Mr. Trump’s traveling press corps, which the campaign had brought to the hotel. The reporters appeared confused. Mr. Bannon beamed.

“These four very courageous women have asked to be here,” Mr. Trump said into the cameras, “and it was our honor to help them. And I think they’re each going to make just an individual short statement.”

The guests praised Mr. Trump in succession, at times sharing details of their claims against the Clintons. Mr. Trump nodded sternly. It was over in three minutes.

As the gathering broke, reporters called out questions to Mr. Trump about touching women without consent. Ms. Jones cut in. “Why don’t y’all go ask Bill Clinton that?” she said, as Mr. Trump stared forward. “Go ahead — ask Hillary, as well.”

The Trump team thrilled at the scene, in part because the often leaky campaign had successfully kept a secret. The women were awe-struck but appeared grateful for the megaphone. “Oh, I was so excited,” Ms. Jones said in an interview. “That felt so good that I got to say that.”

At the debate site, Clinton aides absorbed the production with a mix of alarm and performative stoicism — all the more after the Trump campaign tried to place the women in the seating area for the families of the candidates, before finding another spot for them in the debate hall.

Backstage, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers told her that Mr. Trump was merely trying to get in her head.

“Yeah,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I got that.”

“The great thing is, it didn’t work,” Ms. Palmieri remembered replying.

“Nope,” Mrs. Clinton answered. “Didn’t work.”

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The debate itself, held in a town hall format, was at once stunning and not surprising in its simmering hostility. The two did not shake hands at the start. She called him unfit to serve. He suggested that she would be jailed if he won and often loomed ominously behind her as she spoke.

Mr. Trump has said the debate won him the election. At minimum, the evening appeared to stabilize a campaign that seemed liable to capsize for 48 hours.

He made clear that he saw no reason to step aside or submit to further public remorse. Most supporters plainly saw no reason to demand as much, either.

“It’s locker-room talk,” Mr. Trump said, repeating the formulation five times onstage, “and it’s one of those things.”

By the time he left St. Louis, the episode that was supposed to doom him, by bipartisan consensus, had begun to recede.

But the true coda to the weekend — and perhaps the purest snapshot of Mr. Trump’s ultimate psychology when he feels attacked — did not come at the debate. Or the next day. Or even with his election weeks later.

It arrived in the months that followed. As he prepared to take office, Mr. Trump, validated by his November triumph, began privately floating a curious theory about the tape’s authenticity, an alternate history he preferred to the real one:

It wasn’t him.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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Betsy DeVos Completes Sexual Assault Rules

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-titleix-facebookJumbo Betsy DeVos Completes Sexual Assault Rules Trump, Donald J Title IX (Gender Discrimination Legislation) sexual harassment Sex Crimes School Discipline (Students) Education Department (US) DeVos, Elizabeth (1958- ) Colleges and Universities

WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday issued final regulations on sexual misconduct in education, delivering colleges and schools firm new rules on how they must deal with one of the biggest issues that have roiled their campuses for decades.

The rules fulfill one of the Trump administration’s major policy goals for Title IX, the 48-year-old federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in programs that receive federal funding, bolstering due-process protections for accused students while relieving schools of some legal liabilities. But Ms. DeVos extended the reach of the law in other ways, establishing dating violence as a sexual misconduct category that must be addressed and mandating supportive measures for alleged victims of assault.

But enforcement of the law has also grown contentious, especially since the Obama administration issued guidance documents in 2011 and 2014 that advised schools to ramp up investigations of misconduct and warned that their failure to do so could bring serious consequences. Critics said schools felt pressured to side with accusers without extending sufficient rights to the accused. And dozens of students have won court cases against their colleges for violating their rights under the Obama-era rules.

When Ms. DeVos announced in 2017 that she was rescinding the Obama-era guidance, she said she would give schools, from kindergarten to college, regulations with the force of law that balanced those rights. Her final rules, which she called a “historic” break from the “kangaroo courts” of the past, take effect Aug. 14.

“Today we release a final rule that recognizes we can continue to combat sexual misconduct without abandoning our core values of fairness, presumption of innocence and due process,” Ms. DeVos said on a call with reporters.

Victims’ rights groups promised they would challenge the new rules in court.

“We refuse to go back to the days when rape and harassment in schools were ignored and swept under the rug,” said Fatima Goss Graves, the president of the National Women’s Law Center.

The new regulations adopt the Supreme Court’s definition of sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive,” and they require colleges to hold live hearings during which accusers and accused can be cross-examined to challenge their credibility. The rules also limit the complaints that schools are obligated to investigate to only those filed through a formal process and brought to the attention of officials with the authority to take corrective action, not other authority figures like residential advisers.

Schools will also be responsible for investigating only episodes said to have occurred within their programs and activities, not, for instance, apartments not affiliated with a university. And they will have the flexibility to choose which evidentiary standard to use to find students responsible for misconduct — “preponderance of evidence” or “clear and convincing evidence.”

To find a school legally culpable for mishandling accusations, it would have to be proved “deliberately indifferent” in carrying out mandates to provide support to victims and investigate complaints fairly. The 2,000-page document emphasizes “equitable” treatment and the presumption of innocence.

The rules are the most concrete and wide-reaching policy measure of Ms. DeVos’s tenure and were pushed by President Trump. Groups that have long fought the Obama-era rules claimed victory on Wednesday.

“The department’s new regulations require schools to provide students with a fundamentally fair process before imposing these life-altering consequences,” said Samantha Harris, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a higher-education group.

The Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague” letter of 2011 and supplementary policy clarification in 2014 defined sexual harassment broadly and held schools liable for episodes they knew about or “reasonably should” have known about. They asked schools to adopt a “preponderance of evidence” standard in adjudicating cases and discouraged cross-examination and mediation between accusers and accused.

Victims’ rights groups said that approach shepherded in a new era of accountability at colleges, putting schools on notice that Title IX did not only address equal access to sports teams. The Obama administration found a pattern of cover-ups and rampant mishandling of Title IX proceedings in both higher education and elementary and secondary schools, and it initiated high-profile investigations at schools that carried the threat of losing federal funding.

Arne Duncan and John B. King Jr., President Barack Obama’s secretaries of education, said in a joint statement that the rules were “part of an egregiously troubling pattern to continue to rollback civil rights for students, especially those most underserved.”

“We believe, as noted in the 2011 Obama administration guidance, that institutions should hold those who violate Title IX accountable for their actions and protect victims’ rights,” the former secretaries said. “To do otherwise is simply unacceptable.”

Ms. DeVos’s initial proposals, released in November 2018, elicited more than 120,000 public comments and prompted hundreds of meetings between Education Department officials and advocacy groups.

The final rules were changed to address at least some concerns. The department amended provisions that would have allowed schools to ignore virtually all accusations of misconduct that occurred off campus, and officials changed proceedings that critics argued would have re-traumatized victims.

For instance, the department did extend responsibility beyond campus, saying that schools would be obliged to investigate accusations of misconduct that occur in “a building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by a postsecondary institution,” like a fraternity or sorority.

Jurisdiction also extends to “locations, events or circumstances” over which the school exercised “substantial control” over students and activities, like field trips or academic conferences. However, the rules exclude actions that happen to students studying abroad.

It also softens initial proposals for cross-examination. It prohibits students from questioning each other in personal confrontations, leaving that to advisers and lawyers. A hearing officer must first decide if the questions are relevant, and questions about a person’s sexual history are generally not.

Lawyers for accused students pressed for cross-examination, which they believed a crucial tool for rooting out the truth and frivolous complaints.

Justin Dillon, a lawyer at KaiserDillon, which has represented more than 100 accused students at more than 100 schools, said the rules were a “huge victory for basic fairness and long overdue.”

“It was a process that resembles almost nothing that the administration has done — it was honest, it was thorough,” he said. “If the Trump administration had put half the thought into the coronavirus as they did into the Title IX regulations, we’d all be going back to work now.”

The final regulations also make exceptions for primary, secondary and other specialized schools amid concerns that the draft regulations would have subjected small children to the same treatment as young adults. Those schools are not required to hold a hearing or cross-examinations, though parties must be able to submit written questions. And students in primary and secondary schools can report their claims to any staff member, unlike colleges, where reports must be made to a high-ranking official.

The department maintained that the Supreme Court’s strict definition of harassment was so severe and pervasive that it effectively denies a person access to a school’s education program or activity. But the final rule added that conduct could be harassment if “a reasonable person” would say it was. The department also clarified that sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking are also sexual harassment, and those accusations would not have to meet a severe and pervasive standard.

The rules still mandate that schools dismiss complaints that do not meet the sexual harassment definition, even if the accusations are proved true.

The rules bolster the role and visibility of the Title IX coordinator, the main point person for facilitating the complaint process, and allow schools to appoint several staff members to the position. Those staff members are now required to provide “supportive measures” to accusers even if they choose not to go through with a formal complaint. The department added an extensive section to combat retaliation against people who bring forward complaints of sexual misconduct.

Meredith Smith, the assistant provost for Title IX and Clery compliance at Tulane University, said she worried how her students would respond to the rules, including those accused of misconduct.

“They’re going to see this incredibly legalistic way of responding to the harms that they’ve experienced, including being accused of horrible things, and instead of thinking of us as people who can help, we’re now here to litigate,” she said. “I thought I was working in civil rights and ensuring access to education, but instead I’m going to be running a courtroom.”

The rules require that accused students be given written assurance that they are presumed innocent. Schools would not be able to impose any disciplinary actions on students accused of misconduct until the end of the case, though they retain the ability to remove students from campus if they are found to pose a risk. Cases involving students can be resolved through mediation, but those involving both staff and students cannot.

The rules could be reversed in Congress, should Democrats win back the Senate and keep the House in November.

“Democrats will not stand silently as the Trump administration attacks the civil rights of students and will fight to ensure that every college campus is free from the fear and threat of discrimination, harassment or violence,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said in a statement.

Republicans praised the rules as fair.

“Under the previous administration, a single official at the U.S. Department of Education was issuing edicts, without the proper public input,” said Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

College and public school leaders urged Ms. DeVos to hold off on issuing the regulations during the coronavirus pandemic, and with most of their schools closed, they have called on her to at least postpone their effective date.

​“The Department of Education is not living in the real world,” said Ted Mitchell, the president of the American Council on Education, which represents college presidents and administrators. “Choosing this moment to impose the most complex and challenging regulations the agency has ever issued reflects appallingly poor judgment.”

Ms. DeVos defended her decision, saying schools have known the rules were coming and have ample time to prepare.

“The reality is civil rights really can’t wait,” she said.

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Why Won’t TV News Book Tara Reade?

Westlake Legal Group why-wont-tv-news-book-tara-reade Why Won’t TV News Book Tara Reade? Television sexual harassment Reade, Tara Presidential Election of 2020 News and News Media NBC News MSNBC Fox News Channel CNN Business Insider Inc Broaddrick, Juanita Biden, Joseph R Jr
Westlake Legal Group 30BENSMITH-01-facebookJumbo Why Won’t TV News Book Tara Reade? Television sexual harassment Reade, Tara Presidential Election of 2020 News and News Media NBC News MSNBC Fox News Channel CNN Business Insider Inc Broaddrick, Juanita Biden, Joseph R Jr

There were good reasons to be skeptical of her 20-year-old allegations: She’d changed her story and said some weird stuff, and even denied the whole thing under oath.

And while the candidate had his flaws, he’d never been accused of sexual assault.

So not everybody believed Juanita Broaddrick’s claim that Bill Clinton raped her.

“You cannot blame them,” Ms. Broaddrick told me on the phone Wednesday. “Here I had lied in the Paula Jones suit, and that naturally threw very harsh criticism toward me, rightfully.”

You don’t have to believe Mr. Clinton assaulted Juanita Broaddrick in 1978. If you’re a journalist, it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you report what you know. But the handling of Ms. Broaddrick’s story was one of the most damaging media mistakes of the Clinton years. And the treatment of Mr. Clinton’s accusers by the Democratic Party and the media alike is one of the original sins that led to today’s divided, partisan news environment.

The mainstream American media in 1999, for reasons that are hard to explain or excuse today, got cold feet on a credible allegation of rape against the president. And after NBC News sat for weeks on an exclusive interview, Ms. Broaddrick went to the only people who would listen to her, Mr. Clinton’s partisan enemies at The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. That move helped turn her straightforward allegation into a weaponized political story. And while Americans watching at home could make up their own minds about Ms. Broaddrick’s credibility, they were left with new reasons to shake their heads at the media.

The same thing is about to happen again. A former Senate aide for Joseph R. Biden Jr., Tara Reade, has accused the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of sexually assaulting her in 1993. Reporters have found other accounts that indicate that she has been telling her version of events for a long time. There are, as with Ms. Broaddrick, reasons to doubt her story; there aren’t good reasons not to hear her out. As The Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, told me in an interview two week ago, Ms. Reade has “standing.”

And yet, Ms. Reade told me Wednesday that the only offers she’s had to appear on television have come from Fox News, including a call from the prime time host Sean Hannity. She has so far turned them down.

“I’ve been trying to just kind of wait to get someone in the middle,” she said in a phone interview. “I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a progressive, I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a Trump supporter.”

CNN, NBC and MSNBC, whose DNA — even in a pandemic — is politics, have covered her on their websites and on air but haven’t put her on camera.

“They’re not offering to put me on TV — they’re just doing stories,” Ms. Reade told me. “No anchors, no nothing like that.” She’d most like to tell her story to a network television anchor she admires — CBS’s Gayle King is one, she said — but they haven’t called.

So she’s planning to accept Fox News’s offer for an interview to air this weekend, she said, with “someone a little more up the middle.” She declined to say who, but a person who has spoken to her said Ms. Reade is in talks with Chris Wallace.

The booking would be a coup for the conservative network, and give its on-air hosts a club with which to beat a mainstream media that can’t quite explain why it won’t book Ms. Reade, while Julie Swetnick, a woman with a shaky claim against a Supreme Court nominee, got airtime during a prime time evening broadcast.

Some of the reasons this story seems muffled right now are fairly straightforward: The global coronavirus pandemic has eclipsed almost everything else. There’s also the way Ms. Reade first tried getting attention, mostly on Twitter, “stumbling forward with no PR person and no attorney,” she said. (“I emailed Ronan Farrow like four times to the point of stalking and I didn’t hear back,” she added. “Now of course he’s one of the investigative reporters on this.”)

Then she found partisans willing to hear her out. First it was among supporters of Bernie Sanders, like the podcast host Katie Halper, who put Ms. Reade on her show. Then The Intercept, a news website whose enmity for Mr. Biden is a powerfully motivating force, reported that a friend and brother of Ms. Reade’s recalled her describing the incident.

The traditional media, including The Times reporters Lisa Lerer and Sydney Ember, waded in carefully. Then the fast-moving news site Business Insider reported other details that gave further weight to Ms. Reade’s story. The reporter, Rich McHugh, had taken the story to Vanity Fair first, which declined to publish it, a spokesperson for Vanity Fair confirmed. The broadcast television networks, CNN, and MSNBC, have covered the story on their websites, while Fox News has covered developments breathlessly on air and online.

There’s still no clear explanation, however, for why Ms. Reade hasn’t been on mainstream TV. Representatives for CNN and MSNBC declined to explain why they haven’t booked a woman who is, whether you believe her or not, one of the few newsmakers right now who could cut through the pandemic.

Their posture is all the more strange because, at this point, it’s essentially symbolic. In 1999, you could argue that NBC’s decision to hold back Lisa Myers’s interview with Ms. Broaddrick had real political consequences: Taped in January, as the Senate took up impeachment charges against Mr. Clinton, it did not air until after the Senate voted not to convict the president in February. (Curiously, the only version online now is on the website of a conservative group.) Back then, the only way Americans were going to hear her voice was on television.

So the decisions by networks of how and whether to cover her have fewer consequences for how she’s viewed, or even how Mr. Biden is viewed, than they do for how Americans view the media.

“Typically, in a situation like this, media outlets would be competing intensely for the first major on-camera interview, yet the only network calling Reade is Fox News,” said Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief for The Intercept, who has championed Ms. Reade’s story. “That the media isn’t more concerned about the image ignoring this story creates, and the fodder it gives to cynical actors like Donald Trump Jr., gleefully parading the media’s hypocrisy, suggests a potentially destructive lack of self-awareness.”

There’s still time for the biggest American outlets to own the story, as some print and digital organizations have begun to. They could investigate and break news that supports or undermines Ms. Reade’s account, they could interview Mr. Biden directly or they could give Ms. Reade herself a hearing.

The alternative scenario is that Ms. Reade’s allegation will become like Ms. Broaddrick’s. “The rest of the mainstream media either ignored, dismissed or misrepresented her story, which was shameful,” Ms. Myers, now retired from NBC, told me in a direct message on Twitter. “Many things have damaged the credibility of the mainstream media, but the obvious double standard in coverage of sexual misconduct allegations against politicians is high on the list.”

Ms. Broaddrick’s name vanished into the right-wing media and out of the official narrative — then boomeranged back hard during the 2016 election, against the Clintons and against the media. Ms. Broaddrick embraced Donald J. Trump as a vehicle for her retribution. She showed up at a presidential debate, ironically as a kind of a shield against well-reported allegations that Mr. Trump had assaulted women.

On Wednesday, Ms. Broaddrick, now 77, told me that she has been talking and texting with Ms. Reade, warning her that this is going to be hard.

“It’s the same stuff all over again,” she said in a phone interview from her home in Arkansas. “People have got to learn that it doesn’t matter who somebody supports — if they can be vetted and investigated and we find that it’s credible allegations then it doesn’t matter what their political preference is.”

As for Ms. Reade, she says she knows many people won’t believe her, or even really give her a hearing.

“I think there are people who are hard-wired to not believe it and that’s OK — they need to be able to justify their vote, and I have sympathy for that,” she said.

Others, of course, will believe her reflexively.

Journalists cannot predict how viewers might react to television interviews with Ms. Reade, or where their reporting on her claims will lead. They don’t have to. They should just make sure their audience knows they’re reporting hard, and doing the work with an open mind.

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Harvey Weinstein Is Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison

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Harvey Weinstein, the once influential Hollywood producer, was expected to be sentenced to state prison in New York on Wednesday morning after his conviction on felony sex crimes, capping a two-year plummet from grace over his sexual abuse of women.

For many, the sentencing was expected to mark a major milestone in the #MeToo movement, which gained momentum after several women went public with their complaints about Mr. Weinstein.

Women’s rights organizations and Mr. Weinstein’s accusers had celebrated the producer’s recent conviction, calling it the start of a new era of women’s empowerment.

Two of Mr. Weinstein’s victims who testified at trial were expected to speak before the sentencing, setting up what was likely to be an emotional confrontation with the producer.

Mr. Weinstein, who is 67 and has maintained his innocence, will also be given a chance to speak. He faces between five and 29 years in prison.

All six of the women who gave graphic accounts on the witness stand of Mr. Weinstein’s sexual assaults entered the courtroom together, taking seats in the front row of the gallery, just behind the prosecution’s table. Next to them sat the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr. The rows behind Mr. Weinstein were largely empty.

A Manhattan jury of seven men and five women found Mr. Weinstein guilty on Feb. 25 of raping an aspiring actress, Jessica Mann, at a Midtown hotel in 2013, and forcibly performing oral sex on a production assistant, Miriam Haley, in his Lower Manhattan apartment in 2006.

After five days of deliberations, however, the jury acquitted Mr. Weinstein of the most serious charges against him: two counts of predatory sexual assault, which required prosecutors to prove that he had committed a serious sexual assault against at least two women.

Those charges, as constructed by prosecutors, required the jury to find Mr. Weinstein had raped the actress Annabella Sciorra in the early 1990s at her Gramercy Park apartment. But some jurors doubted her account.

The jury also determined Mr. Weinstein was not guilty of first-degree rape in the 2013 attack on Ms. Mann. That charge required the state to prove the use of force or a threat during the attack. The jury instead opted to convict him of third-degree rape, which required prosecutors to prove only that she did not consent.

Arguing for a lengthy sentence, prosecutors had pointed to a long list of allegations from women who said Mr. Weinstein had sexually assaulted them over four decades. The earliest allegation, prosecutors noted, was from a woman who said he raped her on a business trip in 1978.

Joan Illuzzi, the lead prosecutor, said the litany of assaults detailed in a sentencing memorandum “show a lifetime of abuse toward others, sexual and otherwise” and a “total lack of remorse for the harm he has caused.”

But defense lawyers said none of those allegations had been proven. They pointed to Mr. Weinstein’s work raising money on behalf of charities and his rapidly declining health as they pleaded for leniency.

“He lost everything,” his lawyers wrote in a letter to the judge, pointing to his divorce and the loss of his company. “His fall from grace has been historic.”

Reports about Mr. Weinstein’s sexual misconduct had been circulating in Hollywood for decades, even as the producer won critical acclaim for reshaping the independent film industry with Oscar-winners like “Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction.”

But in late 2017, several of his accusers went public in exposés published by The New York Times and The New Yorker. Since then, more than 90 women have accused Mr. Weinstein of misconduct, including harassment, inappropriate touching and sexual assault.

Recently unsealed court documents show that, in the weeks after the articles were published, Mr. Weinstein and his team scrambled to come up with a response.

The producer desperately sought support from wealthy friends like Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon, and Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former New York City major.

Alan Feuer contributed to this report.

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How Bloomberg Buys the Silence of Unhappy Employees

Every year, hundreds of departing employees at Bloomberg L.P. are presented with a choice: Either leave the company empty-handed or accept a generous financial package and agree to never speak ill of the company. Many take the money.

The result is that some employees at Michael R. Bloomberg’s company are barred from publicly describing misconduct and what they perceived as an entrenched culture of bullying, where women are often objectified and sometimes face discrimination, according to interviews with more than a dozen former employees, as well as lawsuits and internal corporate documents reviewed by The New York Times.

Bloomberg is not unique. In corporate America, in order to receive severance payments, fired or laid-off employees generally must sign agreements that require them to keep quiet about their experiences. Such agreements are deployed for a range of reasons, including to protect intellectual property, to prevent departing employees from publicly vilifying the company and to confidentially settle claims of discrimination or harassment.

But unlike just about every other company in America, Bloomberg’s owner and founder is running for president.

The heavy use of so-called nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreements at Mr. Bloomberg’s company has gone from being a standard business practice to being a political vulnerability on the presidential campaign trail.

Mr. Bloomberg’s Democratic rivals have accused him of using his multibillion-dollar fortune to silence victims of abuse and discrimination. In response to the criticism, Mr. Bloomberg recently released three women from nondisclosure agreements who he said had complained about comments he made. And he said that as long as he was running the company, it would stop using nondisclosure agreements with employees who have sexual harassment or misconduct claims.

“I recognize that NDAs, particularly when they are used in the context of sexual harassment and sexual assault, promote a culture of silence in the workplace and contribute to a culture of women not feeling safe or supported,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement.

But that change only affects a small fraction of the nondisclosure agreements that are put in place on a regular basis at Bloomberg. Most people who sign do not have specific claims of mistreatment; instead, the contracts are designed to prevent disgruntled ex-employees from bad-mouthing their former employer.

Natalie Harland, a Bloomberg spokeswoman, defended the company’s culture and practices.

“Bullying and discrimination are not tolerated,” she said, noting that Bloomberg consistently ranks at the top of employee satisfaction surveys and provides six months of paid parental leave.

“Mike has worked to create an environment where women can — and do — succeed,” Ms. Harland added. “The company provides competitive pay, good benefits and opportunities for advancement.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s company makes the bulk of its money selling a proprietary financial data system to Wall Street firms and other major companies. Every new hire has to sign a confidentiality agreement, which requires that they not share trade secrets and refrain from poaching anyone from the company after they leave, usually for a period of three years.

Employees who are fired or resign in frustration are often pushed to sign contracts that prohibit them from in any way disparaging the company, several of the former employees said in interviews. Those pacts bar the employees from even acknowledging the existence of the agreements, according to contracts reviewed by The Times.

Bloomberg’s contracts are in line with those used by other major companies, independent employment lawyers say. In some circumstances, The Times also requires employees to sign nondisclosure agreements in order to receive severance packages.

“I don’t know of a company that provides severance that doesn’t ask for those people who are subject to that severance to sign a nondisclosure agreement,” said Melinda Wolfe, who was the head of human resources for Bloomberg from 2008 to 2013.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_169533987_e3e62d7f-c76b-44c6-bbb9-8c890263d12f-articleLarge How Bloomberg Buys the Silence of Unhappy Employees Women and Girls Suits and Litigation (Civil) sexual harassment Presidential Election of 2020 Nondisclosure Agreements discrimination Bloomberg, Michael R Bloomberg News Bloomberg LP Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Now that Mr. Bloomberg is running for president, a dozen former employees said they wanted the freedom to speak openly about his company.Credit…Travis Dove for The New York Times

The Times spoke to 13 former Bloomberg employees — including some who now work for The Times — who said they wanted to be released from their exit agreements so that they could speak openly about the culture at the company now that its founder and owner was running for president. If they were free to talk, some of the former employees said, they would describe a company that, while it provides generous pay and benefits, can be an uncomfortable place to work, especially for women.

Some Bloomberg managers perceived the use of medical or maternity leave as stealing from the company, several of the former employees said. One, Andreea Orent, said she was chastised for being a few minutes late to work and had been called out in a performance review for once clocking in 20 minutes late. Ms. Orent is suing the company for discrimination.

Ms. Harland, the Bloomberg spokeswoman, said the company didn’t fire Ms. Orent, even though she “was frequently late for — or would miss altogether — important meetings.”

Men at the company rated the “hotness” of their female colleagues, according to an interview with a former employee and lawsuits against the company in 2016 and 2018. Employees said in lawsuits that women were encouraged to wear short skirts and high heels.

Ms. Harland said the company had not found evidence of men rating women based on attractiveness and that there is no dress code at Bloomberg. She said that when the company discovered one instance in which men at the company “started a chat that included inappropriate comments” about women, Bloomberg fired the employees involved.

Mr. Bloomberg has a history of making derogatory comments toward women, including at his company. At a business meeting in 1999, he said that if he let women who had children have flexible work arrangements, he would have to give men time off to work on their golf games, according to an employee who heard the remark and is now bound by a confidentiality agreement.

“If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s,” Mr. Bloomberg was quoted as saying in a booklet compiled by his former chief marketing officer.

Ms. Harland said Mr. Bloomberg “openly admits that his words have not always aligned with his values and the way he has led his life, and some of what he has said is disrespectful and wrong.”

Some employees, who believed that they had legal claims against the company, said their lawyers or colleagues advised them to accept financial settlements rather than mount a yearslong battle against a company with virtually unlimited resources.

One woman said she had signed a nondisclosure agreement after accusing Bloomberg of firing her after she complained that she was passed over for promotions when she returned from maternity leave. The Bloomberg spokeswoman said the woman lost her job as part of a restructuring. A black sales manager said in a confidential complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which the Times reviewed, that she had been paid less than her white colleagues and had been fired for complaining to human resources. She later signed a nondisclosure agreement as part of a settlement with Bloomberg, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Others had more run-of-the-mill grievances about the company’s culture and how they were treated — the type of issues that they were willing to swallow in exchange for money.

Laurie Hays, a former top Bloomberg News editor, was personally fired by Mr. Bloomberg five years ago in a glass-walled room in a bustling newsroom, in what many employees viewed as a deliberate act of public humiliation. She signed a nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreement.

Ms. Hays, who now works in public relations, said she “loved every minute” of her time working with journalists at Bloomberg. Ms. Harland said that Mr. Bloomberg did not intend to humiliate Ms. Hayes.

Two of the company’s other top female editors, Ellen Pollock and Megan Murphy, also were pushed out after Mr. Bloomberg returned from his time as New York City mayor to run the company. Like Ms. Hays, Ms. Murphy signed an agreement to keep quiet.

It is not clear whether Ms. Pollock, who is now The Times’s business editor, signed one. She said she had not discussed the details of her departure with anyone other than her family and lawyers.

Several former employees said in interviews and court filings that they felt pressured to forfeit the right to speak out.

A marketing employee said human resources had told her that if she didn’t sign a nondisclosure pact, Bloomberg would charge her for the thousands of dollars it had spent sponsoring her green card. She signed.

In another case, Bloomberg demanded that a person who didn’t even work for the company — Leta Hong Fincher, the wife of a departing Bloomberg reporter — sign a nondisclosure agreement. The company threatened to sue her and force her to repay the tens of thousands of dollars it had spent to move the couple from Beijing to Hong Kong. Ms. Fincher never signed the agreement; Bloomberg didn’t sue. Her husband, Michael Forsythe, is now a reporter at The Times.

Ms. Harland said that Mr. Forsythe “stole Bloomberg L.P. intellectual property and gave it to his wife” and the company was seeking to protect the information. She added that Bloomberg did not pressure anyone to sign nondisclosure agreements.

Laurie Evans worked in sales for Bloomberg’s Businessweek magazine. In 2016, she was hospitalized after suffering a severe panic attack at work. While she was medicated, a Bloomberg human resources employee called her to say she had been fired and needed to sign a nondisclosure agreement if she wanted to receive severance, according to a legal complaint.

Ms. Evans signed. She received part of her salary plus about $70,000 in other cash payments. In exchange, she agreed to “not, in any way, disparage” the company or say anything to anyone “that may be considered to be derogatory or detrimental to the good name or business reputation” of Bloomberg, according to a copy of her agreement.

Ms. Evans later filed a lawsuit in which she claimed that she had been coerced into signing the agreement at a time when she was in intense psychological distress. Bloomberg has argued in court that Ms. Evans’s claims have no merit and she was mentally competent at the time. The suit, in a New York court, is pending.

Michael M. Grynbaum contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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With Weinstein Conviction, Jury Delivers a Verdict on #MeToo

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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

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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.


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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