Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison
Harvey Weinstein has been formally sentenced to 23 years in prison after a New York City jury found the former Hollywood mogul guilty of committing a criminal sex act in the first degree and rape in the third degree.
Judge James Burke presided over the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, March 11. Weinstein, 67, arrived in court to face a minimum of five years and a maximum of 29 years behind bars for raping actress Jessica Mann in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on production assistant Miriam Haley in 2016.
Mann and Haley both delivered final "victim impact" remarks before the court and Weinstein on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. “The day my screams were heard from the witness room was the day my voice came back to its full power… Rape is not just one moment of penetration. It is forever," said Mann. "It scarred me deeply, mentally and emotionally,” Haley said, per Variety. “What he did not only stripped me of my dignity as a human being and a woman, but it crushed my confidence."
Weinstein, who repeatedly claimed all sexual encounters were consensual, also delivered a statement before Judge Burke, citing his old correspondence emails that his lawyers once used during the trial in an attempt to illustrate a friendly relationship between their client and these women. "I’m not going to say these aren’t great people," he said. "I had wonderful times with these people. I’m just genuinely confused. Men are confused about this issue."
Weinstein was remanded to Riker's Island on Feb. 24 for the 16-day waiting period before his official sentencing hearing, but he found himself at Bellevue Hospital over concerns of high blood pressure and heart palpitations. He remained there for more than one week and underwent a heart procedure before eventually moving to the infirmary unit at Riker's.
Dozens of women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against Weinstein, the former film producer and now-ousted head of The Weinstein Company, since The New York Times first published an exposé in October 2017. Prosecutors fought for a severe sentencing against Weinstein that "reflects the seriousness of the defendant’s offenses," while his attorneys argued for a lesser sentence. In an open letter to the judge, Weinstein's lawyers argued their client may not live beyond the minimum five-year jail time due to his age and health, referring to five years as "a de facto life sentence."
There also remains the case in Los Angeles. District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced in January that Weinstein was formally charged with “raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013."