Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 16 years in LA rape case
Weinstein became the face of powerful men who had gone unpunished for their violence against women until the #MeToo movement
A Los Angeles court on Thursday sentenced former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein to 16 years in prison after convicting him of the rape and sexual assault of an Italian actor and model in 2013.
The 70-year-old is already serving a 23-year sentence for a separate conviction in New York in 2020 for similar sex crimes. The sentence increases the possibility that the former film producer spends the rest of his life in prison.
Weinstein became the face of powerful men who had gone unpunished for their violence against women until the #MeToo movement shed a public light on his crimes.
He was found guilty of one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault in December but was acquitted of the sexual battery of a massage therapist and the jury was unable to reach a decision on counts involving two other women.
Weinstein maintains innocence
He is appealing the verdicts in both the New York and LA cases.
"I maintain that I'm innocent. I never raped or sexually assaulted Jane Doe 1," Weinstein told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench. The name Jane Doe 1 was given to the woman he was convicted of raping in a hotel room in February 2013 during a film festival.
The woman he was convicted of raping cried in the courtroom as he spoke. She had earlier told the judge of the pain she felt after the rape.
"Before that night I was a very happy and confident woman. I valued myself and the relationship I had with God," the woman told the judge. "I was excited about my future. Everything changed after the defendant brutally assaulted me. There is no prison sentence long enough to undo the damage.''
The co-founder of Miramax Films was found guilty of sexual misconduct in New York in February 2020. He was extradited to an LA prison in July 2021 to face trial there.
His attempts to appeal the New York conviction so far have failed, but the state's highest court has agreed to hear a further appeal. He is eligible for parole in New York in 2039.
ab/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)