Harvey Weinstein Sentenced To 23 Years In Prison

by Valerie Williams
Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Manhattan Criminal Court

Harvey Weinstein could’ve received as few as five years in prison and as many as 29

After being convicted of two felony sex crimes, disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison. The prison sentence comes more than two years after the MeToo movement helped expose Weinstein’s crimes against several women in Hollywood including actresses Uma Thurman, Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino, Angelina Jolie, and many others.

According to The New York Times, Weinstein’s sentence is on the higher end of what was possible for the crimes he was convicted of. New York State Supreme Court Justice James Burke could’ve sentenced him to as little as five years and as many as 29. The sentence and verdict both came after dozens of women, famous and not, shared their stories of being assaulted by the former producer.

In total, during his trial, six women shared their graphic accounts of Weinstein sexually assaulting them. They entered the courtroom for his sentencing together and took seats in the front row behind the prosecutor’s table. Considering Weinstein’s age (67) and poor health, the 23-year sentence could mean life in prison.

The sentence includes 20 years for committing a criminal sex act on Mimi Haley, a former production assistant, and another three years for raping aspiring actress Jessica Mann. Weinstein is to serve the sentences concurrently.

Weinstein has denied all wrong-doing and is expected to appeal. The jury, comprised of seven men and five women, found Weinstein guilty on February 25th. After five days of deliberating, the jury acquitted him of the most serious charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault. Jurors doubted the account of actress Annabella Sciorra, and the charges for predatory sexual assault required the jury to believe her story.

In order to get a longer sentence, prosecutors argued that Weinstein’s four-decade history of sexual assault allegations (the earliest dating back to 1978) warranted a lengthy imprisonment. Lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said the dozens of women accusing him “show a lifetime of abuse toward others, sexual and otherwise” and a “total lack of remorse for the harm he has caused.” Weinstein’s lawyers argued for a shorter sentence citing his divorce and losing his company coupled with his declining health. “He lost everything,” his lawyers wrote in a letter to the judge. “His fall from grace has been historic.”

Recently unsealed court documents expose shocking information including Weinstein’s team scrambling for a response to the initial allegations and his feeling that actress Jennifer Aniston “should be killed.”

In late 2017, The New York Times first exposed allegations from several accusers. In the time since, more than 90 women have come forward with their own stories of being harassed, inappropriately touched, or sexually assaulted by Weinstein.