LOS ANGELES (CN) — Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 16 years in prison following his conviction two months ago of raping an Italian model after barging into her LA hotel room in February 2013.
It's the second prison sentence for the 70-year-old former Miramax Films boss whose downfall in 2017 helped spark the #MeToo movement that exposed widespread sexual exploitation of women by powerful men in the entertainment and other industries. Weinstein is already serving a 23-year prison term for his 2020 conviction in New York of sexual assault and third-degree rape.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Judge Lisa Lench on Thursday denied Weinstein's request for a new trial and sentenced him to 16 years, less than the 24 years prosecutors with the LA County District Attorney's office had asked for but well over the three years that Weinstein's attorney argued for at the hearing.
Weinstein told the judge before she sentenced him that he maintained his innocence and that the he never raped or sexually assaulted Jane Doe 1, the Italian model whose real name wasn't used during the trial.
"Please don’t sentence me to life in prison," Weinstein pleaded. "I don’t deserve it. There are so many things wrong with this case."
Lench gave him eight years for forcible rape, six years for forcible oral copulation, and two years for sexual penetration by a foreign object, the three counts he was found guilty of, to be served consecutively. “These are not easy decisions to make, but this is my decision,” Lench told Weinstein while handing down the sentence.
The LA jury convicted Weinstein in December of raping Jane Doe 1, but was deadlocked on charges that he raped Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, when she was an aspiring filmmaker around 2005 — the only victim identified by name during the trial. The jury was also deadlocked whether he sexually assaulted an aspiring screenwriter in a separate incident, and they acquitted him of sexual assaulting a massage therapist in his hotel room.
Weinstein's attorneys argued during the trial that the women who testified against the former movie producer either lied or had had consensual sexual relationships with him to advance their careers, but now portrayed themselves as his victims because of the changed social attitude toward such relationships in the wake of #MeToo.
Jane Doe 1 told the judge during Thursday's hearing that, 10 years after the rape, its effects of were still raw and difficult to discuss.
"His selfish, disgusting actions have greatly impacted my life," Jane Doe 1 said in an emotional and tearful victim statement. "I thought I did something wrong because he chose me that night. I thought I did something wrong for him to do that to me."
Saying there was no prison sentence long enough to undo the damage Weinstein had done, she asked the judge to sentence him to the maximum sentence allowable.
"I will be forever grateful to the jury who found the defendant guilty of rape," she said.
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