Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 16 years in prison in Los Angeles rape case

Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 16 years in prison in Los Angeles rape case

Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Thursday for the rape of a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel room, raising the likelihood that the disgraced Hollywood mogul will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Weinstein, who is already serving a 23-year sentence for a New York sex crimes conviction, was convicted in a Los Angeles court of assaulting a European actress a decade ago.

Present in court in a wheelchair, the 70-year-old Oscar-winning producer of “Shakespeare in Love” begged the judge for “mercy”.

“Please don’t sentence me to life in prison. I don’t deserve this. There are so many things wrong with this case,” he said.

But Judge Lisa Lench gave him three consecutive sentences totaling 16 years for forced oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object and forced rape.

The actress, whose identity has not been revealed, had tearfully called on the judge to give Weinstein “the maximum sentence allowed”, which would have been 18 years.

“His selfish and disgusting actions had a huge impact on my life,” she said.

“There is no prison sentence long enough to repair the damage.”

Weinstein’s attorneys have said they will appeal the Los Angeles verdict, which accompanied his December jury conviction.

The trial heard explicit accounts of encounters between the previously influential film producer and several young women trying to establish themselves in Hollywood.

Prosecutors said Weinstein exploited and abused women for years and long enjoyed impunity due to his then-powerful position in the industry.

The women would have risked losing their future job prospects in Hollywood if they publicly accused Weinstein at the time, prosecutors said.

Weinstein was ultimately convicted in the Los Angeles case of assaulting a woman, but acquitted of sexual assault involving a second.

The jury did not return a verdict on the charges relating to the alleged assaults of two other women, one of whom was identified by her attorneys as Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the current wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

A defense motion for a new trial or reduced verdict was denied Thursday just before sentencing.

Weinstein’s lawyers claimed they were not allowed to admit important evidence about the rape victim – including Facebook posts with an alleged lover that the judge deemed irrelevant – and that their cross-examination was limited .

But Lench said the evidence was “properly excluded”.

#Me too

Weinstein’s behavior had been rumored in entertainment circles for years, but his status as a powerhouse actor in Hollywood meant few were willing to call him out publicly.

Explosive allegations erupted against him in 2017, launching the #MeToo movement and paving the way for hundreds of women to fight sexual violence in the workplace.

Dozens of women have now accused Weinstein of predatory behavior.

In New York last June, Weinstein lost his first appeal against his verdict and sentence in the state’s Intermediate Court of Appeals.

But he also appealed that case to the New York Superior Court of Appeals.

After his conviction in New York, a civil lawsuit awarded $17 million to dozens of other women who had accused the former movie mogul of abuse.

Earlier this month, the European actress Weinstein was convicted of raping in Los Angeles also sued him for damages.

The civil case alleges sexual assault, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

“Defendant Weinstein’s conduct was despicable and done with malice, oppression and fraud, thereby justifying an award of punitive damages against him,” his lawsuit states.

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