Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison

More than 100 women, including famous actresses, have accused the former movie producer of sexual misconduct stretching back decades, fuelling the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment.

Updated - March 12, 2020 03:16 pm IST

Published - March 11, 2020 08:59 pm IST - NEW YORK

In this courtroom sketch, Harvey Weinstein, centre, is led out of the Manhattan Supreme Court by court officers after a jury convicted him of rape and sexual assault on February 24, 2020 in New York.

In this courtroom sketch, Harvey Weinstein, centre, is led out of the Manhattan Supreme Court by court officers after a jury convicted him of rape and sexual assault on February 24, 2020 in New York.

Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on March 11 following his sexual assault and rape conviction in February in a case hailed as a victory for the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.

The sentence was handed down in Manhattan criminal court by Justice James Burke, who presided over Weinstein’s trial. A jury on February 24 found Weinstein, 67, guilty of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping former aspiring actress Jessica Mann.

Also read | The Harvey Weinstein story: from studio to courtroom in 40 years

Once one of Hollywood’s most influential producers, Weinstein had faced the possibility of a maximum sentence of 29 years in prison.

During the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi asked judge Burke to impose 25 years or “near” 25 years in prison for his conviction on a charge of criminal sexual act in the first degree involving Ms. Haleyi and to impose a consecutive sentence for the third-degree rape conviction involving Ms. Mann. That charge called for up to four years in prison, but the prosecution made no specific request.

 

Weinstein, wearing a suit, and the six women who testified against Weinstein were in court for the proceedings.

In an emotional statement in court, Ms. Haleyi spoke of the trauma she had endured since the attack, saying, “It scarred me deeply, mentally and emotionally, perhaps irreparably, perhaps forever.”

Prosecutors in court filings last week said the sentence should reflect not only the crimes of which he was convicted, but a “lifetime of abuse towards others”.

More than 100 women, including famous actresses, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct stretching back decades, fuelling the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment. Weinstein has denied the allegations and said that any sex was consensual.

The jury of seven men and five women acquitted Weinstein on the most serious charges, a single count of first-degree rape as well as two counts of predatory sexual assault, which carried a potential life sentence. Those charges relied on testimony by actress Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s.

Weinstein’s lawyers on March 9 urged judge Burke to impose the minimum possible sentence of five years, asking him to consider Weinstein’s charitable activities while saying a longer sentence would likely mean Weinstein would die in prison.

“His life story, his accomplishments, and struggles are simply remarkable and should not be disregarded in total because of the jury’s verdict,” they said.

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