A British woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein has admitted to feeling “torn” after the once all-powerful Hollywood executive was acquitted on the most serious charges following his trial in New York.
Weinstein’s dramatic fall was completed on Monday when a jury found him guilty of rape and sexual assault, leaving him facing up to 29 years behind bars.
However the 67-year-old, who at the peak of his career was one of the most feared and influential men in the film industry, was acquitted on two more serious charges, which could have seen him sentenced to life in prison.
Rowena Chiu was an assistant to Weinstein in the 1990s and accused him of attempted rape. He denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
Following the verdict, Ms Chiu, 45, said it was a “momentous day” but was puzzled how the jury found Weinstein not guilty on the most serious charges.
She told the PA news agency: “I have to say, in common with a lot of survivors, I was hunkering down expecting an acquittal. You’re often expecting the worst and I feel hugely relieved and somewhat vindicated that there’s been some conviction.”
Ms Chiu, who now lives in California, said it was “surreal” to hear Weinstein had been led away to prison in handcuffs, where he will now await sentencing on March 11.
However, she added: “At the same time it is partial justice because I find it amazing to think the jury could not get unanimous on all counts.
“I’m staggered that it took over 100 brave women to come forward, six of whom harrowingly had to take the stand, only to achieve some measure of justice.
“So, I’m torn, I’m torn between I don’t want to diminish the accomplishments of these six women, and the solidarity and sisterhood that the group of survivors have. They’ve come together and called for a common goal. So, obviously, today is momentous, and I don’t want to take away from that.”
Ms Chiu, a #MeToo movement advocate who alleges she was attacked by Weinstein during the Venice Film Festival in 1998, added: “But at the same time I do want to point to the frailties of the legal system.”
Weinstein’s lawyers have already said they will appeal. The disgraced movie mogul is also facing charges in Los Angeles.
His conviction, the first of the #MeToo era, was hailed as momentous by the Time’s Up movement, while dozens of Weinstein’s other accusers also celebrated.
His downfall was set in motion in October 2017 following reports in the New York Times and the New Yorker. Those initial stories prompted a torrent of further allegations.