Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 16 years in LA rape case
February 25, 2023 01:21 AM
Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Thursday to 16 more years in prison for the rape of a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel room, increasing the likelihood that the disgraced Hollywood mogul will spend the remainder of his life behind bars.
Weinstein was ordered by a Los Angeles court to serve the latest sentence -- for the assault of a European actress a decade ago -- after he has completed his 23-year sentence for another sex crimes conviction in New York.
Attending court in a wheelchair, the 70-year-old Oscar-winning "Shakespeare in Love" producer begged the judge for "mercy."
"Please don't sentence me to life in prison. I don't deserve it. There are so many things wrong with this case," he said.
But Judge Lisa Lench handed him three consecutive sentences totalling 16 years for forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object, and forcible rape.
The actress, whose identity was not revealed, had tearfully called on the judge to give Weinstein "the maximum sentence allowable."
"His selfish, disgusting actions have greatly impacted my life," she said.
"There is no prison sentence long enough to undo the damage."
Weinstein's lawyers said they plan to file an immediate appeal of the Los Angeles conviction -- which was announced by a jury in December -- and sentence.
The trial had heard explicit accounts of meetings between the previously influential movie producer and several young women who were attempting to find a foothold in Hollywood.
Prosecutors said Weinstein exploited and abused women for years, and long enjoyed impunity because of his then-powerful position in the industry.
The women would have risked losing their future Hollywood job prospects if they had publicly accused Weinstein at the time, prosecutors said.
Weinstein was ultimately convicted in the Los Angeles case of assaulting one woman, but acquitted of sexual battery involving a second.
The jury did not reach a verdict on charges relating to the alleged assaults of two other women, one of whom was identified by her lawyers as Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the now-wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.
A defense motion requesting a new trial or a reduced verdict was denied on Thursday immediately before the sentencing went ahead.
Weinstein's lawyers claimed they were precluded from admitting important evidence about the rape victim -- including Facebook messages with an alleged lover which the judge deemed irrelevant -- and that their cross-examination was limited.
But Lench said the evidence had been "properly excluded."
- #MeToo -
Weinstein's behavior had been the topic of rumors in entertainment circles for years, but his power player status in Hollywood ensured few were willing to publicly call him out.
Bombshell allegations broke against him in 2017, launching the #MeToo movement and paving the way for hundreds of women to fight back against sexual violence in the workplace.
Dozens of women have now accused Weinstein of predatory behavior.
In New York last June, Weinstein lost his first appeal against his criminal verdict and sentence in the state's intermediate appellate court.
But he has also further appealed that case to the higher New York Court of Appeals.
After his conviction in New York, a civil trial awarded $17 million to dozens of other women who had accused the former movie magnate of abuse.
Earlier this month, the European actress who Weinstein was convicted of raping in Los Angeles also sued him for damages.
The civil case alleges sexual battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
"The conduct of Defendant Weinstein was despicable, and done with malice, oppression and fraud, thus justifying an award of punitive damages against him," her lawsuit says.