With Weinstein Conviction, Jury Delivers a Verdict on #MeToo

With Weinstein Conviction, Jury Delivers a Verdict on #MeToo

[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.

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