On Wednesday morning, Harvey Weinstein was sentenced in a New York courtroom to 23 years in jail after being convicted of third-degree rape and first-degree sexual assault late last month.
The sentencing completes the former Hollywood movie mogul’s fall from grace after a string of allegations were published in 2017 over his past behavior. Despite the long list of alleged victims, the sentence handed down in the New York courtroom was only based on convictions stemming from the accusations of two women, Jessica Mann and Miriam Haleyi, both of whom worked in the entertainment industry.
Alluding to the extent of Weinstein’s alleged crimes, Judge James Burke noted at the sentencing that “although this is a first conviction, this is not a first offense.”
After being sentenced, Weinstein was taken to Rikers Island Jail in New York City.
Weinstein, 67, declined to make a statement in court during the hearings. However, at the sentencing, he had some remarks.
Weinstein said that he feels remorse for the women but also a sense of confusion as to the extent of his punishment.
“To all the women who testified, we may have different truths, but I have great remorse for all of you,” he said at one point. He also argued, however, that “thousands of men are losing due process. I’m worried about this country. I’m totally confused. I think men are confused about these issues.”
In comments during Weinstein’s sentencing, Haleyi, one of his victims, reiterated that the damage the film producer had done to her was real.
“He, with physical force, violated my trust, my body and my basic right to reject his sexual advances. I showed up not as a perfect victim, but as a human being,” she said.
Reactions to the sentencing
Outside the courtroom, Weinstein’s lawyers vowed that they would appeal the sentence, arguing that the punishment was “obscene” and that the judge had caved to political pressure.
Meanwhile, the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who had attended much of the trail, applauded the sentence, arguing that the victims did a service to all victims of sexual assault by speaking out.
“Their words took down a predator and put him behind bars, and gave hope to survivors of sexual violence all across the world,” he said.
Echoing this sentiment, the US Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an advocacy group that helps victims of sexual assault, praised the sentencing.
“This case — and the national reckoning about the pervasiveness of sexual violence it sparked — will have a lasting legacy,” the group’s president Scott Berkowitz said in a statement.
“We hope that survivors will feel encouraged to come forward, knowing that it can truly make a difference in bringing perpetrators to justice.”
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