NEW YORK—Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced on Wednesday to 23 years in prison for sexual assault and rape.
The sentence was handed down in Manhattan criminal court by Justice James Burke.
Weinstein was taken to New York’s Rikers Island jail following the sentencing. Hours later, he was transported to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan for “ongoing heart problems and chest pains,” Juda Engelmayer, a spokesman for Weinstein, said in an email. Weinstein underwent surgery at Bellevue to clear a heart blockage last week.
Engelmayer said, “we are hopeful he will be held overnight for observation given his recent heart procedure less than a week ago and his ongoing medical issues.”
A jury on Feb. 24 found Weinstein—once one of Hollywood’s most influential men—guilty of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping former aspiring actress Jessica Mann. The length of the sentence means Weinstein may spend the rest of his life incarcerated, considering he is 67 and has health issues. Defense lawyers had recommended the minimum possible five years in prison.
Weinstein, Haleyi, and Mann all addressed the court during the sentencing hearing. The two women spoke of the trauma they have endured since Weinstein attacked them, with Haleyi saying, “It scarred me deeply, mentally and emotionally, perhaps irreparably, perhaps forever.”
Mann added, “I am forced to carry that experience until I die.”
Addressing the court from a wheelchair behind the defense table, Weinstein said, “I’m totally confused.”
Prosecutors portrayed Weinstein as a serial predator who had manipulated women with promises of career advancement in Hollywood, coaxing them to hotel rooms or private apartments and then overpowering and violently attacking them.
“The young struggling dreamers were not even people to him. He could take what he wanted knowing there was very little anyone could do about it,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi told the court.
More than 100 women, including famous actresses, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct stretching back decades. Weinstein has denied the allegations.
Haleyi said Weinstein has seemed “completely disconnected from the gravity of the crime he has committed against me.”
Weinstein had faced a maximum of 29 years in prison.
“Although this is a first conviction, it is not a first offense,” the judge told the court.
Weinstein said he had worked too hard and put too much pressure on himself. “I’m really trying to be a better person,” he said.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance told reporters the judge had “sent a message” to potential offenders.
Weinstein faces separate sexual assault charges in Los Angeles. On Thursday the local district attorney said he had started extradition proceedings.
By Brendan Pierson and Karen Freifeld