Harvey Weinstein convicted on rape charge, faces up to 25yrs in prison

(NYPOST) – Capping one of the most dramatic falls from power in Hollywood history, Harvey Weinstein was convicted Monday on one rape and one criminal sex act count, guilty verdicts that could put him in prison for up to 25 years.

The shamed former movie producer, 67, was found guilty of criminal sexual act in the first degree for forcibly performing oral sex on former “Project Runway” production assistant Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi and rape in the third degree for the rape of hairstylist Jessica Mann.

But the verdict wasn’t a total victory for prosecutors. The seven-man, five-woman jury acquitted Weinstein of the top charge of predatory sexual assault, which carried a life sentence.

Manhattan Assistant DA Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and her co-counsel, Meghan Hast, had argued that Weinstein preyed on vulnerable, naive women who tried to pursue professional relationships with him to advance their careers — only to be sexually attacked.

The prosecutors paraded 28 emotional witnesses in front of the jury, including six women who tearfully recounted their experiences in harrowing detail, although Weinstein was not charged in three of their cases.

“To the defendant, it has been said he was the master of his universe and the witnesses here were merely ants that he could step on without consequences,” Illuzzi-Orbon said in her closing statements.

“When you’re the only one and he’s a giant — not only in his own industry — but he’s someone who gets presidents on the phone and he’s talking to A-listers and people you will never meet in your entire life … you’re really freaking hesitant to report,” she said of Weinstein’s accusers, many of whom did not report their claims to authorities.

Haleyi testified that he invited her to his Soho apartment, where he held her down and forcibly performed oral sex on her July 10, 2006.

Sciorra told the jury that Weinstein barged into her apartment in the winter months of 1993-1994, held her down by her wrists and violently raped her before ejaculating on her heirloom nightie. Her allegations were backed up by pal Rosie Perez, who told jurors Sciorra confided in her about the rape.

Defense lawyers Donna Rotunno and Damon Cheronis countered that the accusers had consensual sex with Weinstein that they later regretted and only “relabeled” as rape for the jury.

“The irony is the ADAs, in this case, are the producers, and they are writing the script. In their story, they’ve created a universe that strips adult women of common sense, autonomy and responsibility,” Rotunno said in her closings.

“In this script, a powerful man is the villain, and he is so unattractive and large that no woman would ever want to sleep with him voluntarily. Regret does not exist in this world, only regret renamed as rape,” she said.

She reminded the jury that Mann and Haleyi admitted on the stand that they had consensual sex with Weinstein after the alleged attacks. They also continued to send him affectionate emails and accept his gifts, including tickets to premieres and invitations to Oscar parties.

The defense called seven witnesses, including Weinstein pal Paul Feldsher, who said Sciorra told him days after the alleged rape that she had done something crazy with Weinstein, casting the encounter as unseemly but consensual.

They also tapped Mann’s ex-friend Talita Maia, who said Mann called Weinstein her “spiritual soulmate” who had given her the “best orgasm” she ever had.

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