Harvey Weinstein Has Been Sentenced To 23 Years In Jail

Hannah Nathanson

From ELLE

Update: Harvey Weinstein Has Been Sentenced to 23 Years In Jail

Harvey Weinstein, once one of Hollywood's most powerful players, has been sentenced to 23 years in jail.

The disgraced movie mogul was convicted of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree and third degree rape last month. He was acquitted of the most serious charge of first degree rape.

Judge James Burke handed the sentence to Weinstein at a New York courthouse on Wednesday (11th March). He was sentenced to 20 years for the first-degree criminal sexual act charge and three years for the third degree rape charge, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Original Story: Everything To Know About Harvey Weinstein's Criminal Trial

It was one of the defining stories of the last decade and sparked the #MeToo movement.

Harvey Weinstein started the new year in court where he faced trial for sex crimes, including allegations of sexual assault and rape.

Weinstein, who denied all allegations of non-consensual sex, received accusations of sexual harassment and assault from over 100 women since October 2017 when The New York Times published a decade-defining story on the film producer.

The piece, by the journalists Jodi Kantor and Meghan Twohey, revealed several accusations against Weinstein from actresses and former employees, including Ashley Judd.

Their investigation, which has been written about in the journalists' 2019 book She Said, found new accusations of sexual misconduct stretching back nearly three decades and paved the way for women to come forward, including high profile actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Emily Ratajkowski and Jennifer Aniston.

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The accusations against Harvey Weinstein empowered women around the world to speak up and come forward with allegations against other high profile men. However, Weinstein was, so far, the only man to stand trial in a criminal court.

Here's everything you need to know about the Harvey Weinstein trial, including his convictions, the female lawyer he's being represented by and the story behind that picture of him walking with a Zimmer frame.

What was Harvey Weinstein convicted of?

Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of two of the five charges he faced.

After five days of deliberation to reach a verdict, on Monday, February 24, a jury of seven men and five women at the New York supreme court found the defendant guilty of a criminal sex act in the first degree for forcing oral sex on former production assistant Miriam Haley in 2006.

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The verdict carries a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum of up to 25 years.

According to the BBC, the jury also found Weinstein – who denied all charges - guilty of rape in the third degree of former aspiring actress Jessica Mann in a New York hotel in 2013. New York law states that third degree rape is when a ‘person is guilty of rape in the third degree when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person’.

The count carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison and requires Weinstein to register as a sex offender, the Guardian reports.

The disgraced film mogul was acquitted of three further charges, including two counts of predatory sexual assault and an alternative count of rape in the first degree.

After hearing the verdict, Weinstein was handcuffed and remanded into custody. He will be sentenced on March 11.

Following the verdict, Weinstein’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, said her client plans to appeal.

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‘He took it like a man. He knows that we will continue to fight for him and knows that this is not over, she said.

Rose McGowan told the BBC's Newshour programme: ‘The little girl I was when I was hurt, she's ecstatic...This is a great day. The trash has been taken out.’

The former movie executive also faces charges in Los Angeles of assaulting two women in 2013.

When did the Harvey Weinstein trial start?

On Monday 6 January, Weinstein arrived at the Manhattan Criminal Court, flanked by his legal team.

Just like when he arrived at the pre-trial in December, the former studio head arrived with a zimmer frame (you can read more about this, below).

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Also spotted outside the court for the historic trial were the actresses and activists Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette who also conducted a press conference and spoke to supporters outside the State Supreme Court.

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As expected, the high-profile trial was also marked by the appearance of activists and campaigners, who gathered outside the court:

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

What was to be expected from the Harvey Weinstein trial?

The trial, which was delayed since September 2019, took place in a criminal court in Manhattan with a 12-person jury.

The charges against the movie mogul included raping a woman in 2013 and forcing a sex act on a woman in 2006. Harvey Weinstein denied all charges.

A third woman, Sopranos actress Annabella Sciora, appeared as a witness in the case. She accused Weinstein of raping her in 1993, but because the alleged rape happened over 21 years ago, Weinstein could not be prosecuted for it under state law. Sciora was represented by Gloria Allred, the mother of attorney Lisa Bloom who has previously worked with Harvey Weinstein.

Who were Harvey Weinstein's lawyers?

Last summer, the Hollywood producer changed his lawyers, replacing Ronald Sullivan and Jose Baez with Donna Rotunno and Damon Cheronis.

Donna Rotunno has already made headlines when she condemned the #MeToo movement and claimed that it had ‘railroaded’ her client, saying in a news conference: 'The emotion of this case has taken over. There is a truth you have not reported on.'

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Both lawyers are based in Chicago, and Rotunno has handled over 40 sexual misconduct-related cases in the past 15 years according to one magazine's profile of her.

What already had happened in the Harvey Weinstein trial process?

Late in 2019, there was news that alleged sexual misconduct victims were close to agreeing a proposed $25m settlement with the Hollywood producer.

That's £19m which will be split between around 30 actresses and former employees from the US, Canada and the UK. Some say this is not enough (especially when you consider that a single one of Bill O'Reilly's accusers was paid $32 million).

Recent reports suggest that lawyers representing the accusers could receive 25% of the payout, which would mean that they could earn as much as 10 times more than some of the women they're fighting for.

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Furthermore, the deal doesn't require that Weinstein admit any wrongdoing. Also, the settlement won't be paid personally by Weinstein, but will be covered by his company's insurance policies, another factor that has caused controversy.

This settlement, which has taken two years of legal fighting and still needs to be approved in court, is separate to the criminal court case starting in January - those accusations are being processed under civil law.

Weinstein, who has been on $1m bail, has repeatedly pleaded not guilty to accusations against him.

In The New York Times piece published in October 2017, he said: 'I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.' He also stated that he was working with therapists at the time.

Why was Harvey Weinstein recently seen walking with a Zimmer frame?

Many people have been questioning the pre-trial publicity around the disgraced producer. Most recently, he was seen walking with a Zimmer frame, which prompted some to accuse Weinstein of courting sympathy artificially.

Photo credit: David Dee Delgado - Getty Images

However, in a statement, his lawyer explained he was suffering from back pain following a car accident which led to concussion. It also stated that he would need back surgery and claimed that the press surrounding his condition was 'mean spirited and false'.

On another occasion, Weinstein was seen at a comedy night in New York during which comedian Kelly Bachman called him out in her act, referring to him as 'the elephant in the room'.

In an interview with CNN, Bachman said of her confrontation: 'I was really trying to just say something, and in the moment, I really felt like I could have said more, and I really felt like I had let down other survivors by not saying more.'

What happens now?

There's no doubt that the court case will attract a huge amount of publicity.

There were doubts that Weinstein would be found guilty. According to TV news reporter Lauren Sivan, who has said Weinstein cornered her in the kitchen of a restaurant in 2007, tried to kiss her and then masturbated in front of her, if he was acquitted" 'It would mean that our legal system has not caught up with our culture and our society.'

While no cameras were allowed into the court room, there is a film being made about the accusations. Currently unnamed, the film being produced by Plan B, the company that backed Oscar-winning films Moonlight and 12 Years a Slave, and reportedly shares the rights of the film with Annapurna Pictures.

A conviction sends a very strong message to the world that men in positions of power cannot get away with sexual misconduct.

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