Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison on rape and sexual assault charges

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Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison on charges of rape and sexual assault. He was found guilty in a trial in New York last month. The sentencing is a dramatic fall from grace for Hollywood’s one of the most powerful producers. The 67-year-old had come to court on Wednesday on a wheelchair and his lawyers had appealed for leniency in the punishment stating that even five years could be a ‘life sentence’.

However, the public prosecutors pleased for maximum possible punishment with regards to his ‘lifetime of abuse’ towards women in showbiz and his ‘lack of remorse’ for his actions. The sentence was handed down in Manhattan criminal court by Justice James Burke, who presided over the trial. On February 24, a jury had found Wienstein guilty of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping former aspiring actress Jessica Mann.

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Weinstein addressed the court for the first time on Wednesday saying that he had deep remorse but said that he and other men were confused by events seen as critical to the #MeToo movement. Dozens of women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, including rape against Weinstein since October 2017, which fuelled the #MeToo movement. Several of the allegations came from some of the biggest Hollywood actresses as well. The six women who had testified against Weinstein were present in the court during his sentencing.

The jury of seven men and five women acquitted Weinstein on the most serious charges, a single charge of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault, which carried a potential life sentence. These charges were levied against the producer on testimony by actress Annabella Sciorra, who said that Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s.

In an emotional statement in court, Mimi Haleyi spoke of the trauma she had endured since the attack, and said, “It scarred me deeply, mentally and emotionally, perhaps irreparably, perhaps forever. What he did not only stripped me of my dignity as a human being and a woman, but it crushed my confidence.”

(Source: Reuters/BBC)

 

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