Celebrity

Harvey Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison

Which could amount to a life sentence for the 67-year-old convicted rapist

Harvey Weinstein in court after being charged with sexual assault

(Photo: Getty)

Update, March 11: Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in a New York City courtroom following his February convictions that found him guilty of committing a first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape, according to the Los Angeles Times. NY State Supreme Court Justice James Burke sentenced Weinstein to 20 years for the criminal sex act charge and a three-year term for third-degree rape; he must serve the terms consecutively. The criminal sexual act conviction carried a possible maximum sentence of five to 25 years in prison, while the sentence for the rape conviction was anywhere from probation to four years.

Update, March 6: Manhattan prosecutors urged Weinstein’s sentencing judge to consider what they said was a four-decade-long history of sexual assault against women when deciding the producer’s sentence. In a sentencing memorandum (in which the prosecutors argued for a substantial prison term, according to the New York Times), prosecutors detailed even more accounts of sexual harassment aimed at Weinstein and dating back to 1978. Among the newly released accusations, which were gathered during a two-year investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and which did not result in charges against Weinstein, are accusations that the producer hired a private intelligence firm to threaten individuals who planned to speak to reporters about him. New accusations also include numerous incidents of confinement, sexual harassment and assault against young women in the Hollywood movie industry and over whom Weinstein was in a position of power.

On February 24, after five days of deliberation, a Manhattan jury delivered their verdict, finding Weinstein guilty of a criminal sex act in the first degree (for a 2006 assault on production assistant Mimi Haleyi) and third-degree rape (for the 2013 assault of actor Jessica Mann). The producer was found not guilty on two counts of predatory sexual assault, a charge that—if convicted—could have resulted in a life sentence, and not guilty on one charge of rape in the first degree.

According to CNN, sentencing guidelines dictate that the producer *could* potentially face probation to four years in prison for rape in the third degree, and at least five years in prison for a criminal sexual act in the first degree.

His sentencing is set for March 11.

Weinstein also faces charges in Los Angeles. Per the Chicago Tribune, these charges—which were announced on January 6 as the NYC trial was underway—allege that the producer raped one woman and sexually assaulted another during Oscars week in 2013.

The convictions come almost two years after Weinstein was first charged by the Manhattan District Attorney on July 2, 2018. In October 2017, the New York Times and New Yorker published exposés containing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein. More than 80 women, including actors Ashley Judd and Lupita Nyong’o, have come forward with similar allegations against Weinstein, amplifying the existing #MeToo movement to global proportions and sparking the Time’s Up initiative.

While we wait to find out more on Weinstein’s sentencing, here’s everything you need to know about Weinstein, the charges against him and what’s happened up until this point.

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How did these charges come to be?

In Spring 2018, Weinstein was charged with first-degree rape, third-degree rape, two counts of predatory sexual assault and two counts of committing a first-degree criminal sexual act. As reported by the Associated Press, and CTV, the charges against Weinstein stemmed from three women: aspiring actor Jessica Mann, marketing executive Lucia Evans and production assistant Miriam Haley.

Weinstein was initially charged on May 25, 2018 for the rape of Mann—who at the time had not gone public with her identity. Mann claimed that Weinstein had confined her in a Manhattan hotel room against her will and raped her in 2013. The initial criminal sexual act charge came from allegations made by Evans, a former actor who told the New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to give him oral sex in 2004. The indictment came less than a week after Weinstein turned himself in to NYPD and was arrested for the alleged sex crimes. He pled not guilty to these charges.

In July 2018, Manhattan prosecutors announced they were adding charges to Weinstein’s indictment—one count of committing a first degree criminal sexual act and two counts of predatory sexual assault—after Haley came forward and revealed Weinstein had performed a forcible sex act on her in 2006. Weinstein pled not guilty to the charges, and his lawyer told the press at the time that the producer denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

In October 2018, a judge threw out the forcible oral sex charge against Weinstein involving Evans due to a witness who had cast doubts on her story.

What do these charges mean?

Because we’re not all super familiar with the ins and outs of the justice system, it’s important to understand what exactly these charges mean. Per The Cut, Weinstein’s charges are as follows:

Rape in the third degree: Refers to the least heavily weighted charge of rape (rape in the first degree being the most serious). According to the online mag, in New York, a person can be found guilty of third-degree rape if they engage in nonconsensual sex with another person.

Criminal sexual act in the first degree: A person can be found guilty of this charge if they engage in oral or anal sex with someone who is unable to consent, or if they use “forcible compulsion” (ie: employ force or threat of force).

Rape in the first degree: In order to convict on first-degree rape, it must be proven that the defendant subjected the victim to nonconsensual intercourse through forcible compulsion or that the victim was “incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless.”

Predatory sexual assault: This charge falls under a Class A-II felony (one of two sex crimes classified as such), which is the most serious type of crime. In NY, a person cane be found guilty of this charge if it’s determined that they’ve committed a first-degree rape, criminal sexual act or aggravated assault against more than one person.

What about the other women?

While there were two women at the heart of Weinstein’s trial, four other women testified on behalf of the prosecution about their own experience with Weinstein, in order to speak to the producer’s familiar pattern of behaviour (ie: luring them in with offers of work, getting them alone under false pretences, followed by a forced sexual act and weeks of intimidation afterwards). This included actor Annabella Sciorra, who testified that Weinstein raped her at her apartment in the winter of 1993. “I felt confused. I felt like I wished I had never opened that door,” Sciorra testified. While her particular assault was outside the statute of limitations, it helped to support the charges of predatory sexual assault.

What was that thing about a comedy club?

Despite being an alleged predator, Weinstein was still released on US$1 million cash bail on May 25, 2018 after his lawyer Benjamin Brafman negotiated a bail package and the presiding judge agreed to it. As reported by the Times, in New York, “the only question a judge may consider in weighing bail is risk of flight, not whether the defendant poses a threat to the community.” Because Brafman successfully argued Weinstein had no record of arrest and would show up for his court appearances, he was free to live at home until the start of his trial. The conditions of Weinstein’s bail included him wearing a tracking device and surrendering his passport. Weinstein was also not allowed to travel outside of New York and Connecticut.

Usually, in New York, defendants who do not have the money to post bail end up being held at Rikers Island awaiting their trail, the Times notes. One of Weinstein’s accusers, actor Annabella Sciorra, ‏tweeted that the alleged rapist should be “behind bars in Rikers” and not walking around free just because he’s rich.

On October 24, the question of his bail was brought up for public discussion when Weinstein showed up at Actor Hours, a monthly comedy show at a Manhattan bar that often features young, female comedians. Weinstein was confronted by several women—both from onstage and in the crowd—before one of them was kicked out.

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What happens in Los Angeles?

In what the New York Times called a “surprising move,” prosecutors in Los Angeles filed charges against Weinstein on January 6 of this year, on the first day of the producer’s NYC trial. The former movie mogul is charged with raping one woman and groping and masturbating in front of a second woman. Both assaults occurred within two days of each other in February 2013.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney’s office said that Weinstein’s sentencing will take place before anything moves forward in Los Angeles.

So what happens next?

Now, we wait. After the verdict was read, Weinstein was denied bail and remanded to jail until his sentencing on March 11. On March 6, Manhattan prosecutors filed a sentencing memorandum, which detailed even more accounts of sexual harassment and assault by Weinstein; accounts that were unearthed during a two-year investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office into the disgraced producer. Prosectors urged the sentencing judge in the case to take these additional accounts (which did not result in charges) into account when sentencing.

On February 25 it was revealed that shortly after he was convicted, Weinstein was hospitalized for chest pains and heart palpitations; he was rerouted to Bellevue Hospital. As of March 9, the producer was at Rikers Island.

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The convicted offender faces five to 25 years in a New York state prison.

With files from Katherine Singh and the Associated Press