“We thank the court for imposing a sentence that puts sexual predators and abusive partners in all segments of society on notice,” said District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. “We thank the survivors for their remarkable statements today and indescribable courage over the last two years. Harvey Weinstein deployed nothing less than an army of spies to keep them silent. But they refused to be silent, and they were heard. Their words took down a predator and put him behind bars, and gave hope to survivors of sexual violence all across the world.”
Judge James Burke sentenced Weinstein to 20 years in prison for first-degree criminal sexual act, plus five years of supervised release. On the other convicted charge of third-degree rape, he was given three years in prison. The judge made the sentences consecutive, rather than concurrent, which is more severe. Weinstein, the executive producer of Oscar-winning films like Shakespeare in Love and Pulp Fiction, will be formally registered as a sex offender.
“This was a miscarriage of justice from the beginning of the process until now,” a spokesperson for Weinstein told Yahoo Entertainment in a statement. “His sentence doesn't commensurate with the conviction and we believe on appeal, the court's prejudice and the prosecution's looseness with evidence and procedures, along with the extreme biases that faced Mr. Weinstein before he walked into the courtroom, the evidence will show that this case had no merit.”
Weinstein’s top attorney said she's “overcome with anger at that number.”
“That sentence that was just handed down by this court is obscene,” Donna Rotunno told reporters after court. “That number was obnoxious, there are murderers who will get out of court faster than Harvey Weinstein will. That number spoke to the pressure of movements and the public. ... I think the judge caved, just as I believe the jury caved.”
Harvey Weinstein's attorney calls 23 year sentence for sex crime convictions "obnoxious."— ABC News (@ABC) March 11, 2020
"That number did not speak to evidence, nor did it speak to justice." https://t.co/PGq2hCURzZ pic.twitter.com/9830Glj44N
Weinstein, 67, arrived at court in a wheelchair on Wednesday and was wearing handcuffs. He spoke to the judge in a prepared statement, saying that while he has “deep remorse” for the victims, he was critical of the #MeToo movement.
“I am totally confused,” he said. “I think men are confused about all of this… this feeling of thousands of men and women who are losing due process. I’m worried about this country... This is not the right atmosphere in the United States of America.”
He also downplayed his power in the movie industry and said his career is now “over.” He said now "my mission is to help."
And he spoke of his two ex-wives, saying, "I was unfaithful to both. I can't tell you how bad I feel about that."
The two victims in the case — Jessica Mann, who testified she was raped in 2013, and Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi, who testified he forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006 — delivered victim impact statements in front of Justice James Burke in the Manhattan courtroom.
Haleyi, who cried during her statement, said the assault “scarred me deeply, mentally and emotionally. It diminished my confidence and faith in people, and my confidence and faith in myself.”
She said Weinstein “crushed a part of my spirit” as well as “crushed my confidence, leaving her feeling “awkward and insecure.”
She added that she’s “relieved he will now know he’s not above the law.”
Mann said, “My rape was preventable. This was a known offender whose previous crimes were covered up in a paper trail” of non-disclosures. Now she’s “forced to carry that experience until I die. It is a recurring nightmare that i feel is just as real as when it happened.”
She added, “Rape is not just one moment ... it is forever.” And she hopes for a future where “we no longer have to worry about monsters hiding in our closet.”
Variety’s courtroom reporter described Weinstein as “appearing to be in a state of stunned disbelief” as Mann and Haleyi delivered their statements.
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon praised Haleyi and Mann for coming forward with their allegations, saying Weinstein “would never have been stopped from hurting and destroying more lives.”
Mann and Haleyi were seated in the front row of the court room alongside Annabella Sciorra, Tarale Wulff, Dawn Dunning and Lauren Young who also testified in the trial about Weinstein assaults. It was reportedly the first time all six of the women had met.
Rosie Perez, who had testified during the trial in support of Sciorra's claims, walked into court with the women and sat behind them.
Illuzzi-Orbon asked Burke on Wednesday to sentence Weinstein to the maximum or near the maximum sentence of 29 years. The reasoning was detailed in an 11-page court filing Friday in which Manhattan prosecutors urged the judge to consider Weinstein's “lifetime of abuse towards others, sexual and otherwise.” According to documents, they detailed 36 “prior bad acts” spanning decades.
“Starting in the 1970s, he has trapped women into his exclusive control and assaulted or attempted to assault them,” Illuzzi-Orbon wrote in a letter, per CNN. She stated the judge had “wide discretion” to consider everything known about the defendant.
Defense attorneys for Weinstein argued unproven allegations shouldn't be used to determine his punishment. They also noted he was acquitted of the most serious charges against him, including predatory sexual assault which carried a lifetime sentence. They requested a five year sentence as his life has been “destroyed.”
“His wife divorced him, he was fired from the Weinstein Company, and in short, he lost everything,” his defense team wrote. “Not only that, but Mr. Weinstein was constantly maligned by the media, having long since been convicted in the court of public opinion.”
Weinstein's attorneys also asked the judge to factor in his charitable giving, medical issues and age. (He will turn 68 on March 19.)
Last week, Weinstein was transferred from Bellevue Hospital to the infirmary unit at the jail on Rikers Island after undergoing a heart procedure to remove a blockage. On Sunday, he “fell and hit his head” while trying to walk without his wheelchair.
“He’s not feeling great, but it’s nothing major,” a spokesperson told Yahoo Entertainment at the time.
On Monday, Weinstein expressed regret for his behavior through his rep to USA Today.
“Harvey has had time to himself in an environment he appreciates to be vastly different from what he had known,” Juda Engelmayer wrote in an email. “In this short, but overwhelming period, he has been humbled so much more than he could have known. He was mean, he didn't often show respect, he treated some people with disdain, and he acknowledges it. He recognizes what put him here, and he will continue working on himself to be a better person.”
Weinstein's team has said they plan to appeal his conviction.
— Additional reporting by Suzy Byrne
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