Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years for Sexual Assaults

March 11, 2020 Updated: March 11, 2020
FONT BFONT SText size

NEW YORK—Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault.

Weinstein, who has been accused of violating scores of women, was convicted last month of raping a woman in a New York City hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing sexual acts on another woman at his apartment in 2006. He faced a maximum of 29 years in prison.

Both women that Weinstein was convicted of assaulting— a once-aspiring actress and a former TV and film production assistant—spoke in court Wednesday before Judge James Burke announced the sentence, confronting Weinstein again after their testimony helped seal his conviction at the trial.

Weinstein also spoke in court, saying he had fond memories of his accusers.

Burke also heard from Weinstein’s lawyers, who pleaded for leniency because of his age and frail health, and prosecutors, who said the man once celebrated as a titan of Hollywood deserved a harsh sentence that would account for allegations of wrongdoing dating to the 1970s.

Harvey Weinstein arrives at court
Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan courthouse for his rape trial in New York City, on Feb. 24, 2020. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

Under state law, Burke was able to consider evidence outside the scope of the trial in forming his sentence.

In their sentencing letter, prosecutors outlined 16 examples they said showed Weinstein “trapped women into his exclusive control” so he could sexually assault them, starting when he was working as a music producer in Buffalo in 1978.

Weinstein was sentenced a week shy of his 68th birthday, and his lawyers argued that a lengthy prison term would, in effect, be a life sentence. They sought a five-year sentence, the mandatory minimum on the more serious of the two charges that jurors found him guilty of.

Weinstein used a walker throughout the trial and arrived at the courthouse Wednesday in a wheelchair because of back problems from a car crash last summer, has a condition that requires shots in his eyes and last week had a stent placed to unblock an artery.

The agency that runs New York’s state prisons said every inmate is evaluated to determine which facility meets his or her security, medical, mental health, and other needs.

The New York case was the first criminal matter to arise from accusations of more than 90 women, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, and Uma Thurman.

Weinstein was convicted on two counts: criminal sex act for the 2006 assault on the production assistant and rape in the third degree for a 2013 attack on another woman.

On the criminal sex act count, he faced a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 25 years in prison, while the third-degree rape count carried a maximum penalty of four years in prison.

He was acquitted of the more serious charges against him of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault.

Three more sexual assault cases under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and Beverly Hills’ police could mean that he’ll face additional charges. No details have been provided on these cases.

By Michael R. Sisak, Tom Hays, and Jennifer Peltz