Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 16 years in prison for 2013 rape and assault

Disgraced Hollywood producer continued to claim innocence during sentencing

Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Centre in Los Angeles in 2020. AFP
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Former media mogul Harvey Weinstein on Thursday was sentenced to 16 years in prison after a Los Angeles jury convicted him of the 2013 rape and sexual assault of an Italian actress and model.

The sentence comes on top of the more than 20 years the 70-year-old Weinstein has left to serve for a similar 2020 conviction in New York, furthering the fall of the film producer whose behaviour became an early focus of the #MeToo campaign.

Weinstein directly appealed to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench, saying: “I maintain that I’m innocent. I never raped or sexually assaulted Jane Doe 1.”

The woman Weinstein was convicted of raping sobbed in the courtroom as he spoke.

Moments earlier, she had told the judge about the pain she felt after being attacked by Weinstein.

“Before that night, I was a very happy and confident woman. I valued myself and the relationship I had with God,” the woman, who was identified in court only as Jane Doe 1, said.

“I was excited about my future. Everything changed after the defendant brutally assaulted me. There is no prison sentence long enough to undo the damage.”

Ms Lench handed down the sentence on Thursday after rejecting a motion by Weinstein's lawyers for a new trial.

Jurors in December convicted Weinstein of one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault against the woman, who at the trial’s opening in October gave an emotional account of him arriving uninvited at her hotel room, talking his way in and assaulting her during a film festival.

Last week, Ms Lench rejected a request from Gloria Allred, a lawyer for some of the women who gave evidence during the trial, to allow others to make similar statements in court about Weinstein.

“I’m not going to make this an open forum on Mr Weinstein’s conduct,” Ms Lench said at the time.

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Legal uncertainties will remain on both coasts for Weinstein.

New York's highest court has agreed to hear his appeal in his rape and sexual assault convictions there. And prosecutors in Los Angeles have yet to say whether they will retry Weinstein on counts they were unable to reach a verdict on.

It is not yet clear where he will serve his time while these issues are decided.

His New York sentence would be served before a California prison term, though a retrial or other issues could keep him from being sent back there soon.

Weinstein is eligible for parole in New York in 2039.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: February 24, 2023, 5:05 AM