Saturday, April 13, 2024

16 more years for Weinstein

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Former Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 16 years in prison in Los Angeles on Thursday for rape and sexual assault charges dating back to 2013.

The 70-year-old is already serving a 23-year sentence for a separate conviction in New York.

More than 80 people have made rape and misconduct claims about Weinstein dating back as far as the late 1970s.

He has denied ever having non-consensual sex.

On 19 December, a Los Angeles jury convicted Weinstein of one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault involving a model and actor known only as Jane Doe 1 to protect her anonymity.

The victim, Jane Doe 1, had testified that Weinstein assaulted her in a hotel room during an Italian film festival in Los Angeles in February 2013.

She spoke in court before the sentence was read, recounting the trauma she had endured for “many years” since the assault.

“Before that night I was a very happy and confident woman,” she said. “Everything changed after the defendant brutally assaulted me. There is no prison sentence long enough to undo the damage.”

Weinstein, meanwhile, maintained his innocence, telling Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench he did not know the victim. “I never raped or sexually assaulted Jane Doe 1,” he said.

His attorneys – who asked for a three-year sentence for Weinstein – asked the judge to take into account his deteriorating health, his children as well as his “generous” donations to charity when handing down the sentence.

Weinstein sat in court looking away for most of the time and did not react when the sentence was read, which came after the judge rejected a motion by Weinstein’s lawyers for a new trial.

Weinstein was acquitted during the same Los Angeles trial of sexual battery against another accuser.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on three other sexual assault counts, including one involving Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom. A mistrial was declared.

He is likely to appeal the sentence.

The former film magnate was facing up to 18 years in prison in the Los Angeles case. He avoided a sentence of up to 24 years after a jury was unable to agree on whether Weinstein had planned the rape or whether the victim was “particularly vulnerable”.

In 2020, Weinstein was sentenced to 23-years in prison for rape and sexual assault against a production assistant in 2006 and an aspiring actress in 2013. He has appealed.

The conviction was seen as an important moment in the #MeToo movement, which had shone a light on rampant sexual abuse and harassment in the film and television industry. (BBC)

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