#MeToo

Weinstein Sentenced to 23 years for Sexual Assaults

The once-influential film industry powerhouse will have absolutely no power to control where he ends up; He still faces additional charges in Los Angeles

NBC Universal, Inc.

What to Know

  • Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday was sentenced to 23 years in prison after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a former production assistant and raping an aspiring actress
  • The 67-year-old Hollywood producer declined to testify at trial but did address the court Wednesday ahead of his sentencing
  • Two of his main accusers, Jessica Mann and Mimi Haleyi, got another opportunity to confront him

Harvey Weinstein was sentenced in a Manhattan criminal courtroom Wednesday to 23 years for sexually assaulting a former production assistant and raping an aspiring actress -- a landmark sentencing in the #MeToo era.

Just hours after the monumental sentencing, sources close to the family told NBC New York that the convicted rapist was on his way back to Bellevue Hospital with chest pains. Weinstein spent multiple days at the hospital with different ailments following his conviction.

His spokesman Juda Engelmayer said the staff at Rikers decided for safety to move Weinstein, and he will likely stay overnight for evaluation.

A jury made up of five women and seven men found the 67-year-old movie producer guilty last month of raping aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on TV and film production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006. Weinstein was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair.

Overall, Weinstein was sentenced to 20 years in prison and five years post release supervision for criminal sex act in the first degree as well as three years in prison and five years post release supervision for rape in the third degree. They will be served consecutively.

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexually assaulting a former production assistant and raping an aspiring actress.

"We thank the court for imposing a sentence that puts sexual predators and abusive partners in all segments of society on notice,” District Attorney CY Vance said in a statement.

“We thank the survivors for their remarkable statements today and indescribable courage over the last two years. Harvey Weinstein deployed nothing less than an army of spies to keep them silent. But they refused to be silent, and they were heard. Their words took down a predator and put him behind bars, and gave hope to survivors of sexual violence all across the world," Vance's statement went on to say.

Their words took down a predator and put him behind bars, and gave hope to survivors of sexual violence all across the world.

CY VANCE, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Adressing Weinstein at sentencing, Judge James Burke told him that although it is is first conviction it was not his first offense, adding that there is evidence of other incidents of sexual assault with other women.

Burke then said Weinstein must register as a sex offender.

Reactions were strong and swift following his sentencing.

In a statement, the Silence Breakers, a group of women who came forward to report Weinstein's sexual misconduct, said in part: "Harvey Weinstein's legacy will always be that he's a convicted rapist. He is going to jail -- but no amount of jail time will repair the lives he ruined, the careers he destroyed, or the damage he has caused."

Additionally, the Time's Up Foundation, an organization that addresses systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace, said in part: "We remain in solidarity with the more than 100 survivors who suffered abuse, harassment, and rape at the hands of Harvey Weinstein. The trauma of sexual assault and harassment is lifelong -- we can only hope that today’s sentence brings all of the survivors of Harvey Weinstein some measure of peace."

Weinstein, who has maintained that any sexual any sexual activity was consensual, also spoke in court, saying he had fond memories of his accusers.

Looking back during the trial at emails they exchanged, he said, he thought they had a good friendship: "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."

He declined to testify during trial but did address the court Wednesday, saying he was a victim of the #MeToo movement.

I'm worried about this country, lots of men like myself are the latest examples. I wasn't about power. I was about making great movies.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN

"I was the first example and now there are thousands of men who were accused. I can't look at Jessica and Mimi ... I had wonderful times with these people," Weinstein said. "I'm worried about this country, lots of men like myself are the latest examples. I wasn't about power. I was about making great movies."

Lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi begged to differ, saying, "He got drunk on power."

"Harvey Weinstein is a person who appeared to have it all. He was a sex addict and anger addict," Illuzzi said. "He is the devil ... he has been using and abusing people his whole life. You sentence this defendant to the max or near the max."

Weinstein was acquitted of the two most serious counts of predatory sex assault. He could have gotten up to 29 years but he was ordered to consecutively serve 20 years for the criminal sexual act and three years for third-degree rape. Prosecutors had argued for the max.

Prison consultant Craig Rothfeld said he's getting Harvey Weinstein ready for the for first 90 days of his sentence, calling it a "very dark" time where he will be "powerless" — and said his convicted sex offender status could make him a target. NBC New York's Sarah Wallace reports.

Mann and Haleyi again got the chance to confront Weinstein in court and give victim impact statements on Wednesday. Haleyi described how Weinstein allegedly took advantage of her job desperation; she says he attacked her, she felt trapped, embarrassed and thought she was alone.

"I didn't realize the extent," Haleyi said. "I'm relieved he now knows he's not above the law ... I let it all go and I showed up. In that way there has been healing ... I just only hope the sentence is long enough for Harvey Weinstein to acknowledge what he's done and to be truly sorry."

For her part, Mann said she left much unsaid about the abuse she suffered -- and the far-reaching impacts of it.

"I wish I would have been able to fight him when he raped me. I would have walked away with strength instead of shame," she said. "My rape was preventable. This was a known offender ... It's a recurring nightmare -- there are good days and bad days and I try to hide it the best I can."

Mann added: "I'm not here to give any more power over to the man who stole my body."

Weinstein's attorneys pleaded for a lighter sentence of five years Wednesday, citing his lack of criminal history and underlying health issues.

"Five years in upstate New York is a miserable horrible existence for a man who had not been in trouble before," defense attorney Arthur Aidala said. "It's basically the death penalty."

To prepare for his time in lockup, Weinstein hired a prison consultant who says Weinstein could be a target due to the nature of the crimes in which he was convicted.

Craig Rothfeld, who served time in upstate New York for white-collar crimes and now runs a consulting firm called Inside/Outside, tells NBC New York that it's going to be "horrible" for Weinstein.

Harvey Weinstein was found guilty Monday on two of the five charges brought against him in federal court. The jury of five women and seven men reached the verdict after five days of deliberations.

"I’m talking to him about the first 90 days," he said. He added, "They’re very dark. They’re very uncomfortable because you’re on buses in handcuffs and leg shackles. You can’t get packages. It’s very scary. What it will be like for him is you’re powerless."

Weinstein used a walker throughout the trial and arrived at the courthouse Wednesday in wheelchair because of back problems from a car crash last summer, has a condition that requires shots in his eyes and last week had a stent placed to unblock an artery.

The agency that runs New York's state prisons said every inmate is evaluated to determine which facility meets his or her security, medical, mental health and other needs.

Weinstein’s first stop in the state system will likely be Downstate Correctional in Fishkill — the primary reception and intake facility for inmates serving time for serious offenses.

"He’s going to be fingerprinted. Photographed," said another Inside/Outside consultant, Joseph Petrocelli. "He will have his head shaved. He will be showered and de-liced and given state prison greens."

That's not all Weinstein has to look forward to. He still faces charges in Los Angeles of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.

Weinstein was charged in California with raping a woman at a Los Angeles hotel on Feb. 18, 2013, after pushing his way inside her room, and sexually assaulting a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel suite the next night.

Weinstein could get up to 28 years in prison on charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery in the California case. Authorities have not said when he would go there to face those charges.

Three more sexual assault cases under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and Beverly Hills' police could mean that he'll face additional charges. No details have been provided on these cases.

Weinstein has repeatedly maintained his innocence, denying that he ever engaged in non-consensual sex with anyone.

For many, the convictions on two charges seem long overdue for the man who for years was subject of rumors of sexual misconduct. NBC New York’s Melissa Russo reports.
Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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