Harvey Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison for Rape and Sex Assault in Case That Sparked ‘MeToo’ Movement

FILE – In this July 9, 2018 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives for a pre-trial hearing in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in prison for a rape and sex assault case that ignited the #MeToo movement in the United States.

That sentence in Manhttan Supreme Court was less than the maximum 29 years requested by prosecutors, but could amount to an effective life sentence behind bars for the 67-year-old Weinstein, who has been in apparently frail health.

And the sentence also was far higher than the minimum of five years in prison, which his lawyers requested from Judge James Burke.

Watching in the courtroom were all of the women who had testified at trial against the once-feared mogul, who was convicted Feb. 24 of rape and committing a criminal sexual act more than two years after explosive news articles about his alleged serial sexual abuse of women.

“He has been using and abusing people his whole life,” said prosecutor Joan Illuzzi after Weinstein was rolled into the courtroom in a wheelchair for the hearing, which ended with his accusers being applauded as they exited the room.

The producer of films including “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “Gangs of New York” was found not guilty of the most serious charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault for which he could have been sentenced to life in prison. He also was acquitted of first-degree rape.

“I really feel remorse for this situation, I feel it deeply in my heart,” Weinstein told Burke on Wednesday. “I’m trying to be a better person.”

Weinstein gave long, rambling statement to Burke, saying his wives “knew nothing” about his extramarital affairs, complaining that he had not seen his children since the allegations against him were made in late 2017, and boasting of the charity fundraising he did on the heels of the 9/11 terror attacks and Superstorm Sandy.

“I had wonderful times with these people,” he said, referring to the two women whose allegations led to his conviction.

“I think men are confused about these issues,” Weinstein said. “I’m worried about this country, lots of men like myself are the latest examples.”

Jurors found him guilty of committing a first-degree criminal sexual act by forcibly performing oral sex on production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006.

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Source: CNBC