Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison

The disgraced producer, who has maintained that any sexual activity was consensual, showed no reaction to the sentence.

AFP
Weinstein's lawyers sought a five-year sentence, the shortest possible in the case, citing his age and frail health.
NEW YORK: Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in prison after breaking his courtroom silence with a rambling plea for mercy in which he professed to be "totally confused" by the (hash)MeToo movement that spelled the Hollywood producer's downfall.

His accusers, those who testified against him and many others who have spoken out elsewhere against the former Hollywood mogul, hailed the near-maximum punishment for his rape and criminal sex act convictions as long overdue.

The 67-year-old Weinstein, who arrived at the courthouse Wednesday in a wheelchair and was taken to a hospital after complaining of chest pains hours after the court hearing, could spend the rest of his life behind bars.


He was convicted last month of raping a once-aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on former TV and film production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006. He faced a minimum of five years and a maximum of 29 years in prison.

The conviction marked the first criminal fallout from a raft of allegations that the Oscar-winning movie producer used his clout to lure women, sexually assault or harass them and then silence them.

``Although this is a first conviction, this is not a first offense,`` Judge James Burke said in imposing the sentence.
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​In this courtroom sketch, Harvey Weinstein, center, flanked by his defense attorneys, listens during his sentencing in a Manhattan courtroom, in New York. ​
In this courtroom sketch, Harvey Weinstein, center, flanked by his defense attorneys, listens during his sentencing in a Manhattan courtroom, in New York.

Weinstein, who did not testify during the trial, addressed his accusers, saying, ``To all the women who testified, we may have different truths, but I have great remorse for all of you.'' But he also argued that men are being accused of ``things that none of us understood.''

``Thousands of men are losing due process. I'm worried about this country,'' he said in a calm but creaking voice. ``I'm totally confused. I think men are confused about these issues.``

Both of the women Weinstein was convicted of assaulting told the court about the damage he did to them, and the empowerment they felt when testifying against him.

``Rape is not just one moment of penetration. It is forever,'' said the 2013 rape accuser, who recalled a moment during the trial when she left the witness stand in tears and then could be heard screaming from an adjacent room.
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It was, she said, ``the day my voice came back to its full power,'' she said.

Asked later about her reaction after the sentence, she wiped her eyes, raised her arm and nodded her head.
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Haleyi broke down in tears as she told the court the 2006 attack scarred her deeply and ``stripped me of my dignity as a woman.'' The encounter made her rethink her career in the entertainment business and left her feeling afraid of retaliation, she said.

The Associated Press typically does not name people, without their consent, who say they were sexually assaulted. It is withholding the rape accuser's name because it is not clear whether she wishes to be identified.

Weinstein, who has maintained that any sexual activity was consensual, showed no reaction to the sentence.

In his address to the court, he touched on his past charitable fund-raising, his film-making career and a pledge that his new ``mission is to help people.'' He said his ``empathy has grown'' since his downfall.

Weinstein reported chest pains later in the day at Rikers Island Jail Complex and was taken back to a locked jail ward at Bellevue Hospital, a spokesperson of his said. He remained there, where he spent time after conviction, as of Wednesday night.

Years of whispers about Weinstein's alleged behavior burst into public view in The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017. In the aftermath, more than 90 women, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and other actresses, publicly accused Weinstein of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The takedown energized the (hash)MeToo movement for speaking up about sexual assault.

Time's Up, an organization created in the wake of (hash)MeToo, on Wednesday hailed the women who testified against him for ``the impact that they have had on our culture at large.''

Weinstein lawyer Donna Rotunno bristled at his sentence, saying the judge and jury had ``caved'' in a (hash)MeToo and media atmosphere where Weinstein ``really never had a fair shake from day one.``

``We were looking for fairness, and we didn't get it,'' Rotunno said.

Weinstein's lawyers sought a five-year sentence, the shortest possible in the case, citing his age and frail health.

Prosecutors said the man once celebrated as a titan of Hollywood deserved a harsh sentence that would account for decades of alleged wrongdoing.

The sentence ``puts sexual predators and abusive partners in all segments of society on notice,'' said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

Weinstein was convicted on two counts: criminal sex act and rape in the third degree. He was acquitted of the more serious charges against him of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault.

Now that Weinstein has been sentenced, his lawyers can move forward with a promised appeal. He also faces rape and sexual assault charges in California, where Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey tweeted Wednesday that her office was working on extraditing him. No arraignment date has yet been set.

From Harvey Weinstein To Bill Cosby's Trials & Convictions: #TimesUp Sends Clear Message
1/13
It all started with Harvey Weinstein in 2017 and four months in to 2018 and now with Bill Cosby's conviction, things are certainly looking up for the #MeToo movement. The number of cases of sexual harassment in Hollywood that have come to light since 2017 has been outstanding. It could also be called the 'Weinstein Effect'. Many of the women who spoke out against Weinstein -- Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan -- are famous names.

2018 has been no different and in a breakthrough trial, after decades of whispers, lawsuits, investigations and close calls - and a multitude of women who lost hope anyone would ever believe their word against that of America's Dad - Bill Cosby could be headed to prison at age 80 for the remainder of his life. Cosby's conviction will only bolster the #MeToo movement.

But they weren't alone, it was almost like a Pandora's Box was opened and a lot of names came out. Let's look at all the accused men:
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October 5, 2017
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October 10, 2017
Actress Hilarie Burton accused him of groping her in 2003. Affleck apologised to Burton on Twitter, "I acted inappropriately towards Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize." Affleck has pledged to donate future profits made from Harvey Weinstein or Miramax projects to independent filmmakers and victims of sexual assault.
October 10, 2017 Actress Hilarie Burton accused him of groping her in 2003. Affleck apologised to Burton on Twitter, "I acted inappropriately towards Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize." Affleck h..
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October 22, 2017
More than hundreds of women have accused Toback of sexual harassment. However, in a statement, he denied the allegations and said that he had never met the women or, if he did, it "was for five minutes and has no recollection." Toback's agent and former ICM chief Jeff Berg, terminated his relationship with him.
October 22, 2017 More than hundreds of women have accused Toback of sexual harassment. However, in a statement, he denied the allegations and said that he had never met the women or, if he did, it ..
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October 29, 2017
'House of Cards' won't be the same without him! Actor Anthony Rapp first spoke about being sexually assaulted by Spacey in 1986. In response, Spacey apologised for "what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior". He's also decided to "choose now to live as a gay man." Spacey was fired from hit Netflix series 'House of Cards' and replaced in Ridley Scott's completed film. He is currently seeking unspecified treatment.
October 29, 2017 'House of Cards' won't be the same without him! Actor Anthony Rapp first spoke about being sexually assaulted by Spacey in 1986. In response, Spacey apologised for "what would have ..
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October 30, 2017
At least five women have shared stories of Piven's misconduct. Actress, Ariane Bellamar said Piven groped her on the sets of 'Entourage'. Piven has adamantly denied all the claims, going so far as to take a polygraph test. Amidst the drama, CBS planned to end 'Wisdom of the Crowd' after just one season, as more women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment.
October 30, 2017 At least five women have shared stories of Piven's misconduct. Actress, Ariane Bellamar said Piven groped her on the sets of 'Entourage'. Piven has adamantly denied all the claims, ..
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November 1, 2017
Accused by two writers, Anna Graham Hunter and Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, Hoffman responded to Hunter's allegation, "I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation," in a statement. "I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am."
November 1, 2017 Accused by two writers, Anna Graham Hunter and Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, Hoffman responded to Hunter's allegation, "I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything ..
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November 1, 2017
With accusations from at least six women, including actresses Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn, Rattner has denied the allegations and is suing his rape accuser for libel. Playboy shelved projects with Ratner and actress Gal Gadot confirmed that he won't be involved in the 'Wonder Woman' sequel, calling the decision "the right thing to do".
November 1, 2017 With accusations from at least six women, including actresses Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn, Rattner has denied the allegations and is suing his rape accuser for libel. Playboy ..
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November 7, 2017
The suave actor from 'Gossip Girl' was accused by two women of sexual assault, including actress Kristina Cohen and former actress Aurelie Wynn. He denied the allegations and said he is cooperating with the authorities to have his name cleared as soon as possible.
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