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Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in prison for rape, capping off his fall as one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood.
The sentence will likely lead to Weinstein, who’s already serving 23 years after a conviction in a trial in New York, spending the rest of his life behind bars. He maintained his innocence in a statement to the court before the sentence was delivered. “This is a setup,” he said.
A jury in December found Weinstein guilty of three counts — forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and penetration by foreign object — against Jane Doe 1. But, in a mixed verdict, he was acquitted of sexual battery by restraint against Jane Doe 3. The jury also couldn’t reach a decision on charges related to Jane Doe 4, who revealed herself as Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and Jane Doe 2.
The trial centered on testimony from four women, all known as Jane Does in court, who accused Weinstein of raping or sexually assaulting them from 2004 to 2013. Four others also testified that they were assaulted, though their claims didn’t lead to charges. In total, prosecutors called 44 witnesses to the stand to make their case against the former movie mogul.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench, who could’ve given Weinstein as many as 18 years in prison, sentenced him to the higher end of the possible term because of his prior conviction in New York. She also considered that Weinstein moved Jane Doe 1 during the assault from one room to another, giving him time to “reflect upon his actions.”
The sentences will run consecutively as opposed to concurrently.
The court hearing follows Jane Doe 1, whose testimony prompted the sole guilty verdict from the jury, suing Weinstein in February for rape and false imprisonment, among other claims. She alleged she was assaulted at an L.A. hotel in February 2013 after she met Weinstein at a film festival, accusing the former movie mogul of forcing her to perform oral sex on him before pulling her into the bathroom to rape her. The suit was filed just before the 10-year statute of limitations on her claims was set to expire.
During the hearing, she addressed the court on how Weinstein’s assault impacted her. She said she suffered depression and blamed herself for the rape. She urged the court to issue the “maximum sentence allowed.”
“There no prison sentence long enough to erase the damage,” she said.
Addressing the court, Weinstein stressed that he doesn’t know Jane Doe 1 and that she “doesn’t know me.”
“This is a made-up story,” he said in a five-minute speech denying he assaulted any of his accusers. “Jane Doe 1 is an actress. We know she can turn the tears on.”
He claimed that his accusers are after money and that the trial was stacked against him. He pointed to jurors who voted to convict him attending the hearing.
“There’s so many things wrong with this case,” he said, claiming that Jane Doe 1 perjured herself.
Weinstein faced two counts of rape and five counts of other types of sexual assault. He pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. In June, a New York appeals court upheld a 23-year sentence following his conviction of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree and third-degree rape.
Before sentencing, Lench denied a motion by the defense for a new trial. She rejected arguments from Weinstein’s lawyers that the trial was stacked against their client because of the exclusion of certain evidence and jury instructions.
Weinstein’s lawyers stressed that they weren’t allowed to cross-examine Jane Doe 1 on alleged financial motives for reporting Weinstein’s assault to law enforcement. Defense attorney Alan Jackson argued that her “credibility was on extremely thin ice” with jurors.
Two other women who’ve accused Weinstein of assault and are suing him were also in court.
Caitlin Dulany said in a statement: “While any amount of time in prison could never make up for the trauma Weinstein caused each of his victims to suffer — a trauma we carry and will continue to carry with us every day of our lives — I have a sense of peace knowing that he will likely spend the remainder of his life in prison.”
In a statement, Louisette Geiss said “No amount of time in jail will erase the damage Weinstein has caused to the lives and careers of his survivors, including me.”
Prosecutors may still decide to pursue a retrial on charges related to Jane Does 2 and 4. Jurors voted to convict him 8 to 4 on charges related to Jane Doe 4 and 10 to 2 on the charge related to Jane Doe 2.
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