Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 16 more years in prison over Los Angeles rape
Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced at a Los Angeles court to 16 years in prison for rape and sexual assault.
Weinstein, 70, was previously convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York in 2020 and is currently serving a 23-year-prison term.
The jury in the Los Angeles case convicted Weinstein on three counts of rape, forced oral sex and another sexual misconduct against a single victim, a European model and actor who testified anonymously as Jane Doe One after a trial in December.
The woman said the incident happened after Weinstein appeared uninvited at her hotel room during a Los Angeles film festival in 2013.
He will now serve the 16 years consecutively to the 21 years left in his New York sentence. That would mean that Weinstein would be extradited to California to serve his 16 years behind bars in the state at the age of 91. He would then only be released at the age of 107.
Just before his sentencing, Weinstein begged judge Lisa Lench for “mercy”, telling her that he “didn’t deserve” to spend life behind bars, and adding that the allegations against him had been a “set up”.
“Your Honour… I maintain that I am innocent,” he told the packed out court room.
“I never raped or sexually assaulted Jane Doe One. I don’t know that woman and she doesn’t know me.”
He continued: “This is a made-up story. With all due respect, Jane Doe One is an actress… Jane Doe One can turn on the tears.”
“Please don’t sentence me to life in prison, I don’t deserve it. I beg your mercy”.
The former producer was wheeled into court wearing a grey Los Angeles County jail uniform and remained seated as he addressed the court.
During the two-month trial, which began in October last year, the court heard how Weinstein had used his influence to organise private meetings with women, where he attacked them.
Jurors acquitted Weinstein of assaulting another woman, a massage therapist, and failed to reach a verdict on whether he raped or assaulted two other women, including Jennifer Siebel Newsom, an actor and film producer who is now married to Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor of California.
Legal observers said Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial, which came more than two years after his conviction in New York, was marked by a striking degree of misogyny that included Weinstein’s defence team attacking his accusers’ credibility and their sexual behaviour, and labelling Siebel Newsom as “just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood”.
His attorneys also used the trial as a referendum on the #MeToo movement, with attorney Alan Jackson telling jurors: “The truth is immutable. It’s not a feeling. It’s not a whim. It’s not a hashtag.”
Weinstein’s second criminal trial focused on the allegations of four women who accused the producer of raping or sexually assaulting them in California, but also included supporting testimony from women who said he raped or assaulted them in similar ways in Toronto, London, and Puerto Rico.
Over more than nine days of deliberation, the majority of jurors wanted to convict Weinstein on charges of sexual assault against two other women, including Siebel Newsom, but could not convince a minority of jurors, who remained sceptical of the allegations.
The sentencing on Thursday was delayed from January 9, to allow for a motion for a retrial to be put forward by Weinstein’s lawyers.
Judge Lench dismissed the motion, following arguments by his lawyer Alan Jackson, shortly before handing down the sentence, saying: “I respect your position Mr Jackson, but I just disagree with it.”
In a victim impact statement, read out to the court, Jane Doe One said Weinstein’s “selfish and disgusting” actions had “broken me into a million pieces”.
Thanking judge Lench for letting her speak, the woman said: “I have been carrying this weight for 12 months.
“Before that night I was a very happy and confident woman. I valued myself and the relationship I had with God. I was excited about my future.
“Everything changed after the defendant brutally assaulted me.
“I became invisible to myself and to the world … I lost my identity.
“It has broken me into a million pieces … there is no prison sentence long enough to undo the damage.”