Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison

March 11, 2020

By a Biometrica staffer

Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in a New York courtroom on March 11, marking the culmination of a case that fueled the global #MeToo movement. The ex-Hollywood producer had faced between five and 29 years in prison for February’s convictions on first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape.

Judge James Burke sentenced him to 20 years in prison for criminal sexual act and three years in prison for rape. The sentences will run consecutively and both come with five years of supervision after release, and Weinstein must register as a sex offender. “This is a first conviction, but it is not a first offense,” Burke said.

Weinstein wore a blank face as he was taken out of the courtroom. His accusers cried together in the front row, CNN reported.

“I really feel remorse for this situation. I feel it deeply in my heart. I will spend my time really caring and really trying to be a better person,” Weinstein is reported to have said, his voice barely audible, as he addressed the court before the sentence was handed down.

Afterward, prosecutors and leaders of the #MeToo movement praised the lengthy sentence. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said it “puts sexual predators and abusive partners in all segments of society on notice.”

Weinstein’s defense attorneys had asked that he be sentenced to five years in prison and argued that, given his frail health, anything longer would constitute a de facto life sentence.

After seven weeks of proceedings, and a 26-hour deliberation by a jury, Weinstein was convicted on two counts in his New York City trial on February 24. He was convicted of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree against Miriam Haley and rape in the third degree against Jessica Mann.

He was acquitted of more serious charges, including predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape. Jurors indicated that they did not find beyond a reasonable doubt that Weinstein had also raped actor Annabelle Sciorra, another alleged victim whose testimony they had used to establish his predatory behavior.

My testimony was painful but necessary. I spoke for myself and with the strength of the eighty plus victims of Harvey Weinstein in my heart. While we hope for continued righteous outcomes that bring absolute justice, we can never regret breaking the silence. For in speaking truth to power we pave the way for a more just culture, free of the scourge of violence against women.

Sciorra said in a statement to CNN

Weinstein, 67, was handcuffed and taken into custody after the New York jury’s verdict. A motion for a mistrial by the defense earlier on February 24 was denied.

Women came forward with allegations against Weinstein in stories by The New Yorker and The New York Times. Actress Alyssa Milano asked Twitter users to tell their stories and use the #MeToo hashtag. The #MeToo movement was founded in 2006 by activist and writer Tarana Burke.

Burke tweeted that Weinstein’s convictions would not have been possible “without the voices of the silence breakers in and outside the courtroom” and the “survivors who courageously testified” against him.