The disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced by a court in Los Angeles to an additional 16 years in prison for rape and sexual assault.
The prison term, along with the 23 years he received in 2020 for a similar conviction in New York, amounts to a likely life sentence for the 70-year-old.
The new sentence came after a jury found him guilty of attacking an Italian actress and model, identified only as Jane Doe #1, during a film festival in Los Angeles in 2013.
Weinstein, who denied the charges, begged to avoid being given a life term as he appealed directly to the judge in the courtroom where he sat in a wheelchair, wearing a prison uniform.
“I maintain that I’m innocent. I never raped or sexually assaulted Jane Doe #1,” he said.
The woman who Weinstein was convicted of raping sobbed in the courtroom as he spoke. Moments earlier she had told the judge about the pain she felt after being attacked by Weinstein.
“Before that night I was a very happy and confident woman. I valued myself and the relationship I had with God,” she said through tears. “I was excited about my future. Everything changed after the defendant brutally assaulted me. There is no prison sentence long enough to undo the damage.”
In December jurors convicted Weinstein of one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault against the woman. At the trial’s opening in October she gave a dramatic and emotional account of how Weinstein arrived uninvited at her hotel room at the festival in the run-up to the Oscars, talked his way in and assaulted her.
Judge Lisa B. Lench sentenced Weinstein to eight years for a forcible rape count, six years for forcible oral copulation and two years for forcible penetration with a foreign object, for a combined 16 years.
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Weinstein’s lawyer cited the producer’s age and very poor health, suggesting a long sentence would make it unlikely he would ever see his five children outside of prison.
“Mr Weinstein did a lot of good for a lot of people in a 50 year career, “ Mark Werksman told the judge. ”He was a man that many famous movie stars would thank in their Oscar speeches.”
Jane Doe #1 could be heard crying in court throughout Werksman and Weinstein’s remarks to the judge.
The producer accused the actress of making her story up. “Jane Doe #1 is an actress. She can turn the tears on,” said Weinstein, who insisted he had never met the woman. “Please don’t sentence me to life in prison. I don’t deserve it. There are so many things wrong with this case.”
The jury acquitted Weinstein of the sexual battery of a massage therapist and failed to reach verdicts on counts involving two other women.
“Today, justice prevailed for survivors,” the massage therapist, known during trial as Jane Doe #3, said in a statement issued through her attorney after the sentencing. “No woman has to fear Harvey Weinstein again as he will never leave prison.”
The latest sentence exacerbates the fall of the onetime movie magnate who became a magnet for the #MeToo movement.
New York’s highest court has agreed to hear his appeal in his rape and sexual assault convictions there. And prosecutors in Los Angeles have yet to say whether they will retry Weinstein on counts they were unable to reach a verdict on. A hearing on the possible retrial is scheduled for next month.
He will be eligible for parole in New York in 2039.