Harvey Weinstein, the former Hollywood mogul, was sentenced to an additional 16 years in prison for charges of rape and sexual assault by a court in Los Angeles on Thursday. This was in addition to his ongoing 23-year sentence in New York. Prior to the sentence, Weinstein spoke in court and continued to deny any wrongdoing, calling the case a “setup.” He maintained his innocence, stating that he never raped or sexually assaulted Jane Doe 1, the model and actress whose testimony formed the crux of the convictions.
Weinstein’s attorneys asked the judge for a sentence concurrent with his ongoing 23-year sentence, citing his age of 70 and poor health. However, the judge ultimately imposed the additional sentence, stating that Weinstein’s actions had caused “devastating trauma” to his victims.
Jane Doe 1 also spoke in court, describing how the assault had changed her. She said that she was a confident and happy woman before the assault but became invisible to herself and the world after the attack. She lost her identity and was left heartbroken, empty, and alone.
Weinstein was convicted in December 2019 on charges of rape, sexual penetration by a foreign object, and forcible oral copulation after Jane Doe 1 testified that he assaulted her in a Beverly Hills hotel room in February 2013. Weinstein was also acquitted of one charge, and the jury could not come to a unanimous decision on three other charges, including one related to Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker and the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Four counts connected to an unnamed woman who did not testify were also dropped during the trial.
The sentencing was the second for Weinstein on sexual assault charges since reporting by The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017 revealed his alleged history of sexual abuse, harassment, and secret settlements as he used his influence as a Hollywood power broker to take advantage of young women. At the time, Weinstein was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and helped produce movies such as “Pulp Fiction,” “Clerks,” and “Shakespeare in Love.” The revelations led to a wave of women speaking publicly about the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and harassment in what became known as the #MeToo movement.
The Los Angeles trial, like the New York trial, featured emotional testimony from Weinstein’s accusers. Eight women testified that they were assaulted during the trial. Four women testified about their alleged assaults, and four other women testified as “prior bad acts” witnesses, meaning their testimony wasn’t directly connected to a charge but could be considered as prosecutors tried to show Weinstein had a pattern in his behavior.
Weinstein had pleaded not guilty, and his defense attorneys maintained the allegations were fabricated or occurred consensually as part of a “transactional relationship” with the movie producer. However, the jury ultimately convicted him of multiple charges. After convicting him, the jury deadlocked on aggravating factors that could have increased his sentence.
In a statement after Thursday’s sentencing, an attorney representing Siebel Newsom and Ashley Matthau, who both testified at the trial, praised the sentence and their decision to testify. “Their testimony gave them the power to reclaim their voices, both for themselves and on behalf of the many other women who were abused by Harvey Weinstein,” attorney Elizabeth Fegan said. “It can’t erase the trauma they’ve endured, but it can serve as a catalyst for change and provide hope to other survivors.”
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