Harvey Weinstein jailed for 23 years after rape conviction

Weinstein received consecutive sentences of 20 years for sexual assault and three years for third-degree rape charge, prompting audible gasps in the courtroom 

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Wednesday 11 March 2020 16:03
Comments
Harvey Weinstein jailed for 23 years

Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in a New York state prison after his conviction on two felony sex crimes.

The sentencing is the culmination of a two-year fall from grace for the once influential Hollywood producer, after his sexual abuse of women was revealed.

The former movie mogul was convicted on 24 February of sexual assault and third-degree rape, but was acquitted on more serious counts of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape.

Justice James Burke told Weinstein that he was certifying him as a sex offender, before sentencing him to 20 years in prison for the criminal sex act and three years for the rape charge. There was an audible gasp in the courtroom. The sentences are to be served consecutively and will be followed by five years’ post-release supervision.

All six of the women that testified against Weinstein sat together in the front row of the courtroom – Miriam Haley, Jessica Mann, Annabella Sciorra, Tarale Wulff, Dawn Dunning and Lauren Marie Young – and they embraced, tearfully, once the sentence had been delivered.

There are at least 13 more women who have accused Weinstein of rape or sexual assault. Before imposing the sentence, Justice Burke said: “I will say that although this is a first conviction it is not a first offence.”

Asking for the maximum sentence of 29 years, the lead prosecutor, Joan Illuzzi said that Weinstein had “walked the red carpet and mingled with the stars and held the dreams of many people in his hands. He saw no limit to what he could take, no limit to what he could grant himself. He could take what he wanted.”

In front of a packed courtroom, both Ms Mann and Ms Haley gave victim impact statements.

“He had crushed a part of my spirit. If he was not convicted of rape and sexual assault by this jury it would have happened again and again. I’m relieved there are women who are safer because he is not out there,” said Ms Haley.

She said that Weinstein “not only stripped me of my dignity as a human being and as a woman … it diminished my confidence and faith in myself”.

“At the time all of this happened, I thought I was alone in this. I had no idea there were others,” she added.

Ms Mann said: “It is time people who rape other people pay with their life and the life they took. I have found my voice,” she said, adding she hopes for a “future where monsters no longer hide in our closet”.

Referring to those who had previously signed non-disclosure agreements over alleged abuse at hands of Weinstein, she said: “My rape was preventable – this was a known offender.”

Defence attorney Donna Rotunno, asking for the minimum sentence of five years, citing Weinstein’s poor health and age – he is soon to turn 68 – argued that even if he was given the minimum sentence, he may not live to see the end of it. Ms Rotunno also cited his children, poor health, and contributions to the film industry, noting that he is also now confined to a wheelchair.

Weinstein addressed the court from his wheelchair for 10 minutes before Justice Burke sentenced him. In what was described as a “self-serving” statement to court, he expressed remorse for all of the men and women wrapped up in the MeToo movement. He also revealed that his daughters have not spoken to him since the allegations against him were revealed in the 2017 New Yorker article.

Speaking outside the court, Ms Rotunno described the sentence as “obscene” and “obnoxious” and said that there are murderers who will get out of prison fast than Weinstein will.

The Silence Breakers, a group of Weinstein accusers that includes actresses Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, and Rosanna Arquette, said in a statement: “Harvey Weinstein’s legacy will always be that he’s a convicted rapist.

“He is going to jail – but no amount of jail time will repair the lives he ruined, the careers he destroyed, or the damage he has caused.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in