Weinstein gets 23 years in sentence hailed by accusers
By MICHAEL R. SISAK, TOM HAYS and JENNIFER PELTZ March 11, 2020
NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in prison after breaking his courtroom silence with a rambling plea for mercy in which he professed to be “totally confused” by the #MeToo movement that spelled the Hollywood producer’s downfall.
His accusers — those who testified against him and many others who have spoken out elsewhere against the former Hollywood mogul — hailed the near-maximum punishment for his rape and criminal sex act convictions as long overdue.
The 67-year-old Weinstein, who arrived at the courthouse Wednesday in a wheelchair and was taken to a hospital after complaining of chest pains hours after the court hearing, could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
He was convicted last month of raping a once-aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on former TV and film production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006. He faced a minimum of five years and a maximum of 29 years in prison.
The conviction marked the first criminal fallout from a raft of allegations that the Oscar-winning movie producer used his clout to lure women, sexually assault or harass them and then silence them.
“Although this is a first conviction, this is not a first offense,” Judge James Burke said in imposing the sentence....
Both of the women Weinstein was convicted of assaulting told the court about the damage he did to them, and the empowerment they felt when testifying against him.
“Rape is not just one moment of penetration. It is forever,” said the 2013 rape accuser, who recalled a moment during the trial when she left the witness stand in tears and then could be heard screaming from an adjacent room.
It was, she said, “the day my voice came back to its full power,” she said.
Asked later about her reaction after the sentence, she wiped her eyes, raised her arm and nodded her head.
Haleyi broke down in tears as she told the court the 2006 attack scarred her deeply and “stripped me of my dignity as a woman.” The encounter made her rethink her career in the entertainment business and left her feeling afraid of retaliation, she said....
Years of whispers about Weinstein’s alleged behavior burst into public view in The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017. In the aftermath, more than 90 women, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and other actresses, publicly accused Weinstein of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The takedown energized the #MeToo movement for speaking up about sexual assault....
Weinstein was convicted on two counts: criminal sex act and rape in the third degree. He was acquitted of the more serious charges against him of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
Now that Weinstein has been sentenced, his lawyers can move forward with a promised appeal. He also faces rape and sexual assault charges in California, where Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey tweeted Wednesday that her office was working on extraditing him. No arraignment date has yet been set.