Harvey Weinstein could face almost 30 years in jail after guilty verdict

Disgraced former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has avoided a potential life sentence but could still face nearly three decades in prison after a jury in New York found him guilty on two counts of sexual assault.

Weinstein faced two charges of rape, one count of a criminal sexual act and two counts of predatory sexual assault.

The jury of seven men and five women found him guilty of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree, but acquitted him of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape.

The charge of committing a criminal sex act carries a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum of up to 25 years. The third-degree rape charge has a maximum sentence of four years, meaning Weinstein could be sent to jail for up to 29 years in total.

He will be sentenced on March 11.

Had he been found guilty of predatory sexual assault he could have been handed a life sentence.

The charges against Weinstein were based on testimony from two women: aspiring actor Jessica Mann, who said he raped her in a hotel in 2013, and former production assistant Miriam Haley - who recently changed her name legally from Mimi Haleyi - who said Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006. 

Testimony from another actress, Annabella Sciorra, who said she was raped by Weinstein in the 1990s, was also used to give credence to the others' claims.

Following the verdict, the 67-year-old was ordered directly into custody, despite his lawyers requesting he be given home detention until his sentencing.

The AM Show's US correspondent Naomi Ruchim said there is no question over whether Weinstein's lawyers will appeal the decision.

"The question now will be if the appeals will be successful and how soon they might come about. But we definitely anticipate appeals in this case," Ruchim said.

Weinstein is also facing charges in a separate case in Los Angeles. Those charges are based on testimony by two unidentified women who say the producer assaulted them in 2013.

"He took it like a man"

Speaking to reporters outside court, Weinstein's lawyer Arthur Aidala said his client was surprised with the verdict and maintained his innocence. 

"Mr Weinstein was shocked but stoic at the same time," Aidala said. "He didn't react emotionally, there was no crying or anything like that. All he kept saying over and over again was 'I'm innocent, I'm innocent - how could this happen in America?'"

Another of his lawyers, Donna Rotunno, told reporters "the fight is not over".

"He took it like a man," Rotunno said of Weinstein's reaction to the decision.

"Harvey is very strong," she said. "Harvey is unbelievably strong. He took it like a man. He knows that we will continue to fight for him and knows that this is not over."

Several of the women who had accused Weinstein of sexual assault took to social media to respond to the verdict.

"For the women who testified in this case, and walked through traumatic hell, you did a public service to girls and women everywhere, thank you," actress Ashley Judd wrote on Twitter.

Judd was one of the first women to go on the record with accusations against Weinstein.

"Harvey Weinstein is now a convicted rapist," actress and director Asia Argento, another accuser, wrote on Instagram.