NEW DELHI, India — Harvey Weinstein’s conviction for rape and sexual assault was a “great victory” for women and sends a “very strong message,” US President Donald Trump said Tuesday.
The Hollywood movie producer was found guilty on Monday by a New York court in a verdict hailed as a historic landmark by the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.
“From the standpoint of women, I think it was a great thing,” Trump said at a news conference in India.
“It was a great victory. And sends a very strong message, very, very strong message.”
Weinstein, 67, was acquitted of first-degree rape and predatory sexual assault, charges that could have seen him jailed for life. But he faces up to 29 years in prison for criminal sexual acts in the first degree and third-degree rape.
He was remanded in jail but was later admitted to Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan with chest pains.
“He was a person I didn’t like,” Trump said at a press conference in New Delhi. “I just was not a fan of his. I knew him a little bit, not very well.”
Trump, who will lead the Republican party into elections in November, said Weinstein was closely linked to the Democratic Party.
“The people that liked him were the Democrats,” he said.
“Michelle Obama loved him. Hillary Clinton loved him. And he gave tremendous money to the Democrats.”
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct since allegations against him ignited a global reckoning in 2017 against men abusing positions of power.
With many claims too old to prosecute, the jury considered charges related to just two: ex-actress Jessica Mann and former production assistant Mimi Haleyi.
Weinstein is due to be sentenced on March 11.
Trump, 73, failed to mention that at least 16 women have accused him of sexual misconduct.
Among them is prominent writer E. Jean Carroll who alleges that Trump raped her in the changing room of a luxury New York department store in the mid-1990s.
She is suing him for defamation, claiming that his denials of the alleged attack, in which he said, “She’s not my type,” had damaged her reputation and career.
Summer Zervos, a one-time contestant on Trump’s reality television show “The Apprentice,” has also sued him for defamation after he said she lied in claiming that he groped and forcibly kissed her.
Trump denies all the allegations and has never been prosecuted over them.
A month before his election victory in November 2016, a ten-year-old tape came to light in which the former reality TV star and real estate tycoon bragged about assaulting women.