Crime & Justice

Weinstein handed 16-year prison sentence for sex abuse

Los Angeles, Feb 23 (EFE).- The Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday sentenced former film producer Harvey Weinstein to 16 years in prison after finding him guilty on three counts of rape and sexual abuse of an Italian-born model.

A California jury found the 70-year-old Weinstein guilty last December of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and penetration by foreign object against the woman, known as Jane Doe 1.

The former Hollywood magnate will have to serve the 16 years of this sentence after serving the remaining 20 years of his present 23-year sentence, handed down against him after a 2020 trial on similar charges.

The net result is that Weinstein is virtually certain to spend the rest of his life in prison.

“This is a made-up story,” Weinstein said on Thursday in addressing the court, denying that he had committed any crime and asking not to be sentenced, in effect, to life behind bars.

He said he does not know Jane Doe 1 and she “doesn’t know me. … (She) is an actress. We know she can turn the tears on,” adding that his accusers are only after money, that the trial was biased against him and that Jane Doe 1 perjured herself.

The victim, whose identity has not been revealed, also had the chance to speak in court and said that until the movie mogul abused her she had been a “happy and confident” woman.

On Dec. 19, 2022, Weinstein, the creator of a film industry empire, was found guilty on three counts of sexual abuse after a Los Angeles trial lasting about two months.

The producer was charged with seven counts based on the accusations of four women who claimed he abused them between 2005 and 2013, all of the crimes allegedly being committed in Los Angeles hotel rooms.

Two of the charges were for rape and the other five were for sexual abuse. Weinstein was convicted on three counts, acquitted of one of the charges and the jury could not agree whether he was guilty of the others.

Weinstein’s representative, Juda Engelmayer, told the specialized celebrity media outlet TMZ that the sentence was “cruel,” given his client’s age, health and the circumstances of his conviction, alleging that the woman lied in her testimony.

Weinstein’s defense asked Judge Lisa B. Lench, and prosecutors Paul Thompson and Marlene Martinez for a new trial, but that motion was denied.

His attorneys, Alan Jackson and Mark Werksman, said they had proof that they could not present during the earlier trial and if they had been able to do so they would have gotten a different verdict from the jury. However, that motion was not accepted by the court.

The wave of accusations against Weinstein began in 2015, when several actresses began reporting his abuses.

But Weinstein did not see his career suffer until October 2017, when The New York Times and, a few days later, The New Yorker magazine reported a series of sexual abuses perpetrated by the producer over several decades.

The case became a landmark standard of the feminist #MeToo movement, given that it encouraged dozens of actresses to speak up about the magnate’s abuse of them, including Uma Thurman, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek.

His case also brought to light the impunity enjoyed by men in positions of power in the film industry for inappropriate sexual behavior against women.

To date, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual crimes and inappropriate behavior and the sentences handed down against him bring to a close one of Hollywood’s most controversial abuse cases.

EFE mrl/mgr/bp

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