Harvey Weinstein, the man who ignited the #MeToo movement for abusing his proverbial “casting couch,” is facing the music today. The entertainment mogul was sentenced to a combined 23 years in prison for third-degree rape and a criminal sex act. Weinstein was convicted last month for the 2006 assault of a production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, which carries a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 25. He also faced as many as four years for rape in the third degree after the 2013 attack on Jessica Mann.
He still maintains his innocence and admits only to having “extra-marital affairs.”
Well over 90 women came forward to accuse Weinstein, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman, but New York is the first state to go to trial and convict. He is also charged with rape and assault in Los Angeles but has yet to enter a plea in that case.
A Life Sentence
Arriving in a wheelchair, the once robust star-maker of the entertainment industry addressed the judge after accusers had confronted him in the courtroom:
“Thousands of men are losing due process. I’m worried about this country … I’m not going to say these aren’t great people. I had wonderful times with these people. I’m just genuinely confused. Men are confused about this issue…I’m worried about this country.”
Weinstein, who appeared in court throughout the trial using a walker, has spent his time in confinement at the infamous Riker’s Island. Authorities say he has been in and out of the infirmary for a heart condition. One of his defense attorneys, Donna Rotunno, called the sentencing “obscene” and did not speak to evidence that was presented at trial. Using words like “obnoxious” and “cowardly,” she claimed to be overwrought with anger.
Another attorney on the Weinstein team, Damon Cheronis, appealed to the court to have a minimum sentence:
“Weinstein cannot walk outside without being heckled, he has lost his means to earn a living, simply put, his fall from grace has been historic, perhaps unmatched in the age of social media.”
He also alluded to his client’s failing health. Apparently, that did not sway presiding judge, James Burke.
The activist group, Silence Breakers, applauded the sentence as just, stating that it “will always be that he’s a convicted rapist.”
Haleyi also spoke of the sentencing, “I believe that if Harvey Weinstein was not convicted by this jury, it would happen again and again and again. Rape is not just one moment of penetration. It is forever.”
Know Who Your Friends Are
Interestingly, documents have come to light showing that Weinstein had reached out for help from Jeff Bezos and former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg. He apparently told the billionaires he might potentially issue a public statement that he was considering suicide. There is no evidence that either responded.
Another connected Hollywood liberal, who once had Oprah and Ben Affleck at his beck and call, has fallen from his powerful perch and the state of New York has sent a stinging and serious message to predators: No matter your name recognition or with whom you rub shoulders – do the crime, do the time.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.