Harvey Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison

Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday following his rape and sexual assault conviction. He received 20 years in prison with five years of post-release supervision for criminal sexual act in the first degree and three years in prison with five years of post-release supervision for rape in the third degree. He was ordered to serve these consecutively.

Weinstein arrived at the Manhattan Supreme Court in a blue suit. His accusers, including all six of the women who testified against him, were also there and sat in the front row. They were greeted with applause upon their arrival.

Before the sentencing was announced, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon thanked Judge James Burke, the media and the accusers and asked for Weinstein to be sentenced “to the max or near the max.” Jessica Mann and Mimi Haley also addressed the court. Haley, a former Project Runway production assistant who claimed Weinstein assaulted her in 2006, said she had been scarred “deeply, mentally and emotionally.” Mann, who accused Weinstein of rape, also described the impact.

“I’m forced to carry that experience until I die,” the actress said, describing it as a “recurring nightmare.”

Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lawyer, also spoke and asked for Weinstein to be given the minimum sentence. Weinstein also addressed the court. He said he “prayed for all of you through this crisis.” In addition, he said “men are confused about these issues” and that he’s “worried about this country.”

On Feb. 24, a jury found the convicted mogul guilty of third-degree rape and criminal sexual act in the first degree for attacks on Mann and Haley. He was found not guilty on two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of rape in the first degree.  

Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 80 women, which helped spark the #MeToo movement in 2017. Since then, he has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex. 

Following the verdict last month, Weinstein was handcuffed and taken out of the courtroom. A request from his attorney for Weinstein to remain on his current bail package was denied at the time. 

According to CNN, Weinstein’s defense attorneys were “requesting a five-year prison sentence, the minimum for his first-degree criminal sexual act conviction” because of his “personal charitable giving, advanced age, medical issues and lack of criminal history.” 

“Given his age and specific medical risk factors, any additional term of imprisonment above the mandatory minimum — although the grave reality is that Mr. Weinstein may not even outlive that term — is likely to constitute a de facto life sentence,” the letter from Weinstein’s defense attorneys continued. 

Most recently, the 67-year-old former producer underwent heart surgery and was moved from a New York hospital to the city’s Rikers Island jail complex ahead of today’s sentencing. E! News confirmed Weinstein had a stent implanted to alleviate a blockage. 

According to Weinstein’s rep, per Reuters, he had suffered from pre-existing conditions prior to his trial—diabetes and high blood pressure—and was also pictured attending hearings using a walker. 

The legal battle against Weinstein began in May 2018 when he was arrested and charged in New York City and later indicted by a grand jury. In June 2018, Weinstein pleaded not guilty to three of the charges and pleaded not guilty to additional charges the following month.

John Minchillo/AP/Shutterstock

Further, Weinstein is also facing four sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, Calif, where he is accused of raping an unidentified woman in her hotel room and allegedly sexually assaulting a different woman in a Beverly Hills hotel suite the following evening. 

According to County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, per a press release, Weinstein was charged with one felony count of each alleged forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint. The rape and sexual assault incidents allegedly took place in February 2013. 

Harvey Weinstein, Handcuffed

Sipa via AP Images

“We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit violent crimes against them,” Lacey said in the statement. “I want to commend the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them. It is my hope that all victims of sexual violence find strength and healing as they move forward.”

One of the women is a former model and actress who recounted Weinstein’s alleged assault to the Los Angeles Times in 2017. According to LAT, Loyal law professor and a former federal prosecutor, Laurie Levenson, said it might be possible that the L.A. County charges “will be negotiated and a plea bargain will be entered without a trial.” However, according to experts that spoke with LAT, the conviction in New York will at the same time “make it easier for prosecutors to prove their case in Los Angeles.”

However, New York-based attorney and expert on sexual assault cases Paul DerOhannesian said it might prove difficult for the producer’s L.A. defense team to make a case for him while he’s behind bars.

“It’s more difficult when you’re incarcerated to defend yourself,” DerOhannesian told LAT, “and even more challenging when you’re convicted cross-country, sitting in a New York state prison.”

At the time of Weinstein’s verdict in Feb, president and CEO of the TIME’S UP Foundation said in a statement, Tina Tchen, “This trial—and the jury’s decision today—marks a new era of justice, not just for the Silence Breakers, who spoke out at great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse, and assault at work. We owe a debt of gratitude to Mimi HaleyiJessica MannAnnabella SciorraDawn DunningTarale Wulff, and Lauren Young and all the Silence Breakers for their bravery and resolve as they faced this man in court. We continue to believe them—all of them—and continue to be in solidarity with them.”

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