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Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano reacted to the Harvey Weinstein verdict on “America’s Newsroom” Monday, calling it a “significant victory” for the disgraced movie producer and a “monumental setback” for prosecutors.
Weinstein, 67, was convicted of first-degree commission of a criminal sexual act and third-degree rape but was acquitted of two more serious charges of predatory sexual assault, as well as first-degree rape. The charges Weinstein was convicted of carry a total sentence of up to 29 years in prison.
“He’s still facing serious time,” Napolitano said. “But, these are not the life sentences, the big ones the government wanted.”
Napolitano said New York prosecutors wanted to “demonstrate a new tool” used by California prosecutors to probe into Weinstein’s past in order to seek “uncharged and unconvicted criminal behavior” in order to enhance the charges and Weinstein’s penalty.
“That apparently failed, but they may have another shot at it,” Napolitano said.
The verdict followed weeks of often harrowing and excruciatingly graphic testimony from a string of accusers who told of rapes, forced oral sex, groping, masturbation, lewd propositions and that’s-Hollywood excuses from Weinstein about how the casting couch works.
The jury of seven men and five women handed down the verdict on Monday after five days of deliberating.
Weinstein has maintained any sexual encounters were consensual. Sentencing was set for March 11.
Weinstein now faces charges in Los Angeles, where authorities allege he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another on back-to-back nights during Oscars week in 2013.
The New York trial was the first criminal case to arise from a barrage of allegations against Weinstein from more than 90 women, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman and Mira Sorvino. Most of those cases were too old to prosecute.