Harvey Weinstein gave a long statement at his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, saying he was remorseful but also “confused” by the allegations of rape and sexual assault leveled against him.
“I think men are confused about all of this,” Weinstein said. “This feeling of thousands of men and women who are losing due process… I’m worried about this country.”
More from Variety
Weinstein spoke shortly before Justice James Burke sentenced him to 23 years in prison — close to the maximum penalty of 29 years.
Weinstein did not testify at the trial, and had the option to remain silent. But after hearing five weeks of testimony, and two statements from his victims — Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann — the disgraced producer decided that he had to address the court.
“To all the women who testified, we may have different truths, but I have great remorse for all of you,” he said, saying he thought he had a “friendship” with both victims. “I had wonderful times with these people.”
Weinstein said that several of friends were scared to testify on his behalf, out of concern they could lose their jobs.
“This is not the right atmosphere in the United States of America,” he said.
He seemed particularly irritated by the District Attorney’s sentencing memo, in which the prosecution laid out allegations from Weinstein’s business executives about his workplace misconduct.
“I had no great powers in this industry,” he said. “Miramax at the height of its fame was a small company… I couldn’t blackball anybody.”
Weinstein expressed remorse for his family, saying he had not seen his three older children since the scandal broke more than two years ago.
“I also want to make one clear statement: my wife Eve and my wife Georgina do not know about this,” he said. “I went to extraordinary lengths to hide my extramarital affairs.”
He also spoke about his extensive charitable contributions in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Sandy. “Ask the guy in Coney Island,” he said. “Ask the guy in Far Rockaway. He lost his business and we walked in there and were able to save his business.”
Weinstein closed his statement by attributing his failings to working too hard.
“I worked too hard,” he said. “I really feel remorse for this situation. I feel it deeply in my heart. I feel emotional.”
Best of Variety