Three women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct and assault expressed relief, and some disappointment, after the disgraced producer was hit with three guilty verdicts, but also an acquittal and two mistrials in a Los Angeles court yesterday.
One of the women to speak up was Jane Doe 3, a masseuse whose sexual assault accusation against Weinstein was the only one that came back with a not guilty verdict. “After enduring the process of having my traumas thrown under a microscope for the entire world to examine, the verdict didn’t turn out the way we wanted,” Doe 3 said in a statement. “Yet I have no regrets. I took the stand, stared into the eyes of my attacker for three days in a brutal trial, spoke my truth, and regained my power. I am no longer afraid of Harvey Weinstein.”
Louisette Geiss, a songwriter and former actress who served as a fresh-complaint witness during the L.A. trial, tells Rolling Stone, “I’m grateful that he’ll be getting more time [in prison]. The stress for myself and other survivors was knowing if that if he’s free, he’ll do it again. So the knowledge that he can’t do it again is the greatest gift to all of us… Putting survivors back in an abusive environment, having to testify, with his lawyers being less than kind, it put us all back in that negative space. If he didn’t get any time with this case, it would have been really horrific.”
In a written statement, Caitlin Dulany — who did not participate in the trial, but did attend the hearings to support her fellow survivors — said, “Although I am deeply disappointed that the jury could not reach a unanimous guilty verdict on all of the claims, I am truly grateful that Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of the charges related to Jane Doe #1. A guilty verdict on some or all counts was incredibly important to me, both personally and for all of us who are survivors of his abuse.”
After 10 days of deliberation, Weinstein was found guilty of one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault tied to a Feb. 2013 incident where he forced himself on an unnamed Italian actress in a hotel room. However, the jury acquitted Weinstein on the separate charge brought by Doe 3, while it failed to reach verdicts in two other cases — those involving Jennifer Seibel Newsom and Lauren Young — and mistrials were declared.
“I always knew this verdict was a possibility,” Doe 3 said. “But I also know the truth of what happened to me and many other women, and I don’t need a jury to tell me if he’s guilty or not. I am so proud of and grateful to the other brave and admirable Jane Does on whose behalf charges were brought. I am gratified that through Jane Doe #1, we all got some justice in Los Angeles against Harvey Weinstein.”
Geiss, who served as a fresh-complaint witness for Newsom, and is also the lead plaintiff in a class action suit against Weinstein, called the mixed bag of verdicts “pretty mind-blowing.” She continued, “I’m gob smacked some of the jurors didn’t see a pattern of abuse. That being said, you know, obviously the jury is only hearing, quite frankly, just a few of us… I’m saddened for Jen. She’s a longtime friend. But it took this tsunami of women to get here, and a win for one is a win for all.”
Monday’s verdicts came nearly three years after a separate jury convicted Weinstein of similar charges in New York. In that case, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison. But this past August, New York’s highest court allowed Weinstein to appeal his convictions, raising the possibility of a new trial. With that in mind — alongside the shock decision to overturn Bill Cosby’s conviction — Geiss noted how important even a few guilty verdicts were in the Los Angeles case.
“We were all worried about him somehow getting off of the 23 years in New York, because look at Bill Cosby,” she said. “Once we all knew Cosby was going to be free after the horrendous and sickening things he did, any survivors started to feel like it’s possible and plausible Weinstein could get out. That’s why any of us took the time to step up and do this again.”
As to whether she thinks Weinstein should be retried on the L.A. charges that ended with a hung jury, Geiss said it should be up to the survivors. “Knowing how horrific it is to go through the process of trying your predator and looking him in the eye — for myself alone, I did a lot of preparation, a million things to get myself calm while having to face him again,” she said. “I just think, honestly, we shouldn’t put survivors through that again. If he has enough years to keep him locked up until he passes, I say, ‘done.’ I don’t want Jen to have to go through that again. It’s really horrific. We’re mothers, and having to keep a happy face on while going through that, it’s very challenging.”
As for Dulany, she spoke about her own experiences watching the Los Angeles trial play out as her fellow survivors “bravely told their stories only to be met with attacks and attempts to discredit them and their experiences.”
She continued, “Listening to them was like reliving my own experiences and I felt a lot of personal grief on those days in court. I watched Jane Doe #1 literally shake with nerves and cry as she relived her assault, and I am thrilled that the jury found Harvey Weinstein guilty of the crimes that he committed against her. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had over the last five years to speak out, share my story, to be listened to, and to be believed. After being silent for so many years, it is so important to me that the truth is out there. Equally important, if not more, is that there is some measure of justice for the women who took the stand and for all of us survivors. I feel like today’s verdict, while disappointing on some levels, did just that. Justice for one of us is justice for us all.”