Disgraced Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison Wednesday on rape and criminal sex act convictions.
Weinstein, 67, was convicted on February 24 of rape in the third degree for sexually assaulting aspiring actress Jessica Mann in a New York City hotel room in 2013, and of committing a criminal sex act by forcing oral sex on his former production assistant Mimi Haley in 2006. That same day, he was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault stemming from actress Sciorra’s allegations of a mid-1990s rape.
“The day my uncontrollable screams were heard in the courtroom was the day my full voice went back into my power,” Mann told Judge James Burke. “Those were the screams that wanted to come out when Harvey Weinstein raped me.”
She added, “I have found my voice and hope for a future where monsters no longer hide in our closet.”
During the trial in Manhattan, Weinstein, who arrived at court in a wheelchair, said Wednesday that he simply had consensual “extramarital affairs” with the victims.
Accusations of abuse against Weinstein in 2017 helped catalyze the #MeToo movement in the United States. This case in New York was the first criminal matter against Weinstein following the accusations of more than 90 women, a group that includes actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Uma Thurman.
Weinstein addressed the judge even though he had opted out of testifying on his own behalf during his trial. “Thousands of men are losing due process. I’m worried about this country,” he said after two of his accusers confronted him in court.
New York State Supreme Court Justice James Burke was the lone person responsible for determining the length of the Hollywood mogul’s sentence.
According to a Fox News report, newly unsealed documents show Weinstein asked for help from billionaires Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg as sexual misconduct allegations against him mounted in October 2017. The documents also indicate that Weinstein considered issuing a statement at the time claiming that he was suicidal. There is no evidence suggesting that either Bezos or Bloomberg responded to the Miramax co-founder.