2ND UPDATE, 9:50 AM: Harvey Weinstein will not know how long he is going to spend in a West Coast prison until at least next month.
Facing a maximum of 18 years based on the mixed verdict delivered by a Los Angles jury last month on multiple sex crimes charges, the Pulp Fiction producer was originally scheduled to be sentenced Monday morning. However, an eleventh-hour motion by the defense for a new trial pushed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench to postpone the hearing until February 23.
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“There are some serious issues from the trial that resulted in Mr. Weinstein’s conviction that lead us to believe a Motion for a new trial is not only warranted but must be granted,” a spokesperson for Weinstein told Deadline today. “In due time, more specifics will become available. At this time we have no further comment than to say his attorneys are making a motion for a new trial which is consistent with what has happened to Mr. Weinstein in NY which is that he has not received a fair, objective and just trial.”
While Weinstein, his lawyers and L.A. County prosecutors were present for today’s brief session, George Gascón’s office has yet to say whether it will seek to retry the several charges the jury deadlocked on back on December 19.
In the meantime, as the appeal for his 2020 23-year East Coast sentence for rape and other crimes advances, the 70-year-old Weinstein remains behind bars in downtown Los Angeles’ Twin Towers Correctional Facility.
UPDATED, January 5 AM: Found guilty of multiple sex crimes last month by a Los Angeles jury, Harvey Weinstein will learn his incarceration fate next week.
A sentencing hearing for the Oscar winning producer has been officially set for January 9 by LA Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench. Already serving a 23-year stint for the verdict of his 2020 New York City trial, Weinstein faces up to a further 18 years behind bars out of the West Coast case.
The East Coast case is currently under appeal, and sources tell me an appeal of the West Coast trial is expected to filed soon.
Seeing the initial charges against him scrapped back in mid-November last year, the mixed verdict against the much-accused Weinstein was based on grand jury indictments of two counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault in incidents in L.A. County over a nine-year period starting in 2004. Weinstein was extradited to the City of Angels in the summer of 2021, and has been held at DTLA’s Twin Towers Correctional Facility ever since.
PREVIOUSLY, December 19 PM: Harvey Weinstein was found partially guilty of multiple sex crimes Monday by a Los Angeles jury.
Just read out in a downtown court, the panel determined the producer was guilty on all counts in relation to Jane Doe #1, not guilty of sexual battery of Jane Doe #2 and hung on charges on Jane Doe #3 and Jane Doe #4 a.k.a. California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. As it stands right now, Weinstein is looking at a sentence of 18 to 24 years behind bars based on Monday’s guilty verdicts.
With Weinstein in the courtroom, the mixed verdict saw the jurors coming down 10-2 on the Jane Doe #2 count, and 8-4 on guilt on the Jane Doe #4/Newsom counts. As is common in such matters where a unanimous verdict is required, a mistrial has been declared on the counts where the panel were unable to come to a clear decision. Based on Weinstein’s previous conviction in early 2020 in New York and from what sources close to the producer’s camp tell me, there is no doubt an appeal of the LA verdict will be coming soon.
After the initial charges against the Oscar winning producer were trimmed on November 15, Weinstein faced grand jury indictments of two counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault in incidents in L.A. County over timespan of 2004 to 2013.
Entering a not guilty plea on all of the original 11 sexual assault charges brought by LA prosecutors soon after he was extradited to the City of Angels in the summer of 2021, the 70-year-old Weinstein was then looking at a maximum prison sentence of 60 years to life plus five. The much-accused Weinstein was previously sentenced to 23 years in prison by a Manhattan jury in March 2020 for multiple sex crimes. That case is now on appeal.
The decision by the panel of eight men and four women today on the West Coast comes over two weeks after the jurors first went behind closed doors to deliberate. Over those 41 hours, it seemed oddly quiet with the jury not asking for clarification on the charges or sought out answers to any questions by Judge Lisa Lench or the lawyers. The only rumblings from the jury room over the past several days appeared to be from an alternate on December 9 who wanted to go home because of upcoming travel plans — the request was denied after objections by Weinstein’s defense team.
However, on December 13, it became public out that the jury actually did have a few questions earlier this month and had asked for a readback of non-Jane Doe testimony on December 7. Paperwork released by LA Superior Court did not reveal what the questions were or who’s testimony was asked for by the panel. Unlike the LASC judge in the recent Danny Masterson rape trial, Judge Lench, who conferred with lawyers by email, did not alert media or others to the requests by the jury or allow said onlookers in her courtroom for the matter. On the 10th day of deliberations and back from a four-day weekend, there was another readback for the jurors this morning that ran from just after 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM, court officials said.
Today’s verdict also comes as a frayed victory of sorts for the LA County District Attorney’s office after the recent fumble of the Masterson rape case. Held just down the hall from the Weinstein trial at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in DTLA and running almost in parallel, the criminal proceedings against the former That ‘70s Show star resulted in a mistrial on November 30, and a win for the plaintiff, at least until a new trial is convened likely next year.
“I am of course disappointed that the jury was split on some of the counts, but hope its partial verdicts bring at least some measure of justice to the victims,” said LA County D.A. George Gascón on Monday afternoon in a judicial and political understatement. “Our team will meet to determine whether or not we intend to retry the counts that were hung,” the top prosecutor added.
Over the course of the often explicit and grisly five-week long Weinstein trial, the jury heard from all four Janes Does in the case, including withering testimony from now California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. In total, including what is known as “prior bad acts” witnesses, eight women took the stand to tell their tale of alleged assaults and other vile misconduct by the one-time mogul.
In closing arguments late last month, and with Weinstein sitting close by in the courtroom, Deputy D.A. Marlene Martinez bluntly called the defendant a “degenerate rapist” and detailed his sexual and psychological “reign of terror” over women for decades.
On the other side, defense lawyer Alan Jackson predictably continued the tactic of Weinstein’s team to attack, attack, attack.
Dismissing Newsom’s potentially pivotal testimony as “a theatrical, overly dramatized performance,” Jackson sought to convince the jury in his closing argument that the D.A.’s office had nothing on his client and had failed to build a case beyond a reasonable doubt. “Take my word for it that it ever happened or take my word for it I didn’t consent,” the lawyer told the courtroom on December 1 of the prosecution’s case and the testimony of the Jane Does. “The truth is immutable. It’s not a feeling. It’s not a whim. It’s not a hashtag,” he added, with a clear swipe at the #MeToo movement his client has come to personify in a predatory sense.
Battling a plethora of heath issues, Weinstein has been behind bars at downtown’s Twin Towers Correctional Facility since landing in LA last year from the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, NY, where he was serving his NYC sentence.
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