Film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in prison for a rape and sexual assault case that ignited the #MeToo movement in the United States.
What We Know:
- Weinstein was facing a maximum of 29 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of first-degree criminal sex act and third-degree rape on Feb. 24. They acquitted him on the most serious charges of predatory sexual assault that carried a possible life sentence.
- The prison sentence was far higher than the five years his lawyers requested from Judge James Burke.
- Watching in the Manhattan courtroom as Weinstein was sentenced, were all the women who had testified against the once feared Hollywood Mogul. They were applauded as they exited the room.
- Miriam Haleyi and Jessica Mann, the two women whose harrowing testimonies got Weinstein convicted, gave emotional victim statements in court before Judge James Burke delivered his sentence.
- Weinstein was sentenced to 20 years for the attack on Haleyi and another three years, to be served consecutively, for the rape of Mann.
- Haleyi is a former production assistant who testified that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006. Mann, a former aspiring actor, gave a horrific testimony about how Weinstein raped her in 2013 during a year-long abusive and degrading relationship.
- Haleyi asked the judge to impose a sentence that was “long enough for him to acknowledge what he has done to me and others and to be truly sorry”.
- Mann asked the judge to give Weinstein the maximum sentence so that he had time behind bars to acknowledge his crimes. “He abused his power over the powerless,” she said.
- Weinstein talked about his relationship with Mann and Haleyi, saying he was “totally confused” by how they described it. “I really feel remorse for this situation, I feel it deeply in my heart,” Weinstein told Burke on Wednesday.
- Weinstein also compared what was happening to him as part of the #MeToo movement to people being blacklisted for being communist during the Red Scare. He downplayed the kind of power he once held in Hollywood and bragged about his charitable donations after 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy.
- In response to the sentencing Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance stated, “We thank the court for imposing a sentence that puts sexual predators and abusive partners in all segments of society on notice.”
- After Weinstein was sentenced, he was placed under the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. He’ll be transferred from the city’s jail system to the state prison system. The agency will then evaluate his case to determine which facility meets his security, medical, mental health, and other needs.
- Defense lawyers plan to appeal Weinstein’s conviction. Defense lawyer, Arthur Aidala, said it was a “sad day for the New York City criminal justice system,” but added, “I have tremendous confidence in the appeals court”.
According to CNN, Weinstein will face charges in Los Angeles, California for allegedly raping one woman and sexually assaulting another over a two-day period in 2013. The two women’s accusations are independent of each other and allegedly happened in separate instances.