Harvey Weinstein Witness Miriam Haley Calls Guilty Verdict a "Huge Relief"

Miriam Haley from CBS This Morning - Screengrab Courtesy of CBS This Morning- Publicity-H 2020
Screengrab Courtesy of CBS This Morning

"I hope that we are more realistic from now on about sexual assaults," says the former production assistant of Monday's outcome.

Miriam Haley, whose testimony helped lead to Harvey Weinstein being found guilty Monday, is calling the verdict a "huge relief" one day later.

"It was a huge relief that the jury got it," Haley said Tuesday on CBS This Morning. "I just felt very grateful that I'd been heard and believed. I'm still processing, I think, but it was just a relief."

As many other Weinstein accusers had expressed, Haley, a former production assistant, had set a level of expectation going into Monday's verdict. "I wasn't sure what was going to happen, to be honest," she said. "The statistics say that most rapists walk. So I didn't know which way it would go. But I'm just very relieved and grateful and happy. It feels like we're making progress."

Haley, one of the two main witnesses, testified during the trial that Weinstein orally sexually assaulted her at his New York apartment in 2006. Her testimony helped lead to Weinstein being found guilty of criminal sexual act in the first degree, which is the most serious charge of which he was convicted Monday.

When reflecting on the guilty verdict, Haley shared her hopes for the watershed moment. "We're being educated about the reality of sexual assaults and sexual assault victims, and what sexual assaults more often than not involve. It's not always just a stranger; it is very often somebody that the person knows," she said. "And with that comes an entire other layer of processing, when it's somebody that you know, [of] emotional confusion. 'Why did this person do this? How could this person have done this to me?' That's what I hope — that we are more realistic from now on about sexual assaults."

As for Weinstein being acquitted on the most serious charges of predatory sexual assault in the New York trial, Haley's attorney Gloria Allred added on CBS This Morning, "It's a very high burden of proof, to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I don't know if there were compromises, horse-trading in the jury. I don't know. But whatever took place in the jury, it's not a reflection on Annabella [Sciorra]. She was brave. She sacrificed so much time. She went through so much in this case and she's a real hero — as Mimi is, as Lauren [Young] is — and we are moving forward for women as a result of her courage."

During a later visit on ABC's The View, Haley called the trial experience a "draining and frankly terrifying process." Of the cross-examination process and Weinstein's attorney, Donna Rotunno, telling the women, "Don't put yourself in that position," Haley said, "We should be focusing on, don’t rape people. If they come to your house, don’t rape them. If they come to your hotel, don’t rape them. I really feel like the shift needs to shift the focus from constantly victim-blaming and evaluating what somebody's part in it was to the actual person who committed the crime taking responsibility for their choices."

Weinstein was convicted Monday morning of criminal sexual assault and third-degree rape, but was acquitted on two counts of predatory sexual assault, which could have netted him a life sentence. Those two counts had Sciorra's testimony in common; the Sopranos actress testified that Weinstein raped her in 1993, but the jury did not convict him based on her case.

On Monday, Sciorra said, in part, "While we hope for continued righteous outcomes that bring absolute justice, we can never regret breaking the silence."

Weinstein is set to be sentenced March 11. He is facing five to 25 years for the criminal sexual assault conviction, as a result of Haley's testimony, and 18 months to four years for the third-degree rape conviction, based on the testimony of onetime aspiring actress Jessica Mann. 

He still faces four charges in Los Angeles County and is currently being held at the Bellevue Hospital prison ward in Manhattan.