Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison Wednesday for his rape and criminal sex act convictions following a landmark trial in the #MeToo era. Weinstein was convicted Feb. 24 of rape in the third degree for assaulting aspiring actress Jessica Mann in a New York City hotel room in 2013, and of committing a criminal sex act for forcing oral sex on former production assistant Mimi Haley in 2006.
Weinstein arrived in a wheelchair Wednesday morning, where a judge sentenced him to serve 20 years on the first count and three years on the second count. He must also serve five years of post-release supervision and register as a sex offender. Weinstein addressed the court before he was sentenced, saying “I wasn’t about power, I was about making movies.”
The sentencing comes after documents were unsealed in the case that revealed correspondence from Weinstein in 2017 after the allegations against him began to mount. In one October 2017 email, Weinstein responded to an inquiry from The National Enquirer about an allegation that he had groped Jennifer Aniston by saying, “Jen Aniston should be killed.” The correspondence also revealed that Weinstein reached out to about two dozen high-profile figures to ask for help that same month, including Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg.
In a letter delivered to Judge James Burke on Monday, Weinstein’s defense asked Burke to sentence Weinstein to the minimum term of five years, arguing the trial “did not fairly portray who he is as a person.” Defense attorneys cited his age — 67 — and health issues, saying that even the shortest term could be “a de facto life sentence.” Weinstein was hospitalized due to concerns about high blood pressure and heart palpitations for more than a week after his conviction. He was reportedly transferred to the infirmary at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex late last week.
Weinstein was not convicted of more serious charges of predatory sexual assault. His lawyers have said he will appeal the verdict.
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