Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years for Rape and Criminal Sexual Act

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Harvey Weinstein, in a still from FRONTLINE's 2018 film "Weinstein."

Harvey Weinstein, in a still from FRONTLINE's 2018 film "Weinstein."

March 11, 2020

Harvey Weinstein is set to spend the next 23 years in prison for rape and committing a criminal sexual act.

The sentence was handed down Wednesday morning by Judge James Burke, after months of emotional testimony and intense media scrutiny of the disgraced Hollywood mogul.

For more than two years, the producer has faced allegations of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct from numerous women, including reports published in The New York Times and The New Yorker. Those stories sparked national debate as well as the anti-harassment and assault movement known as #MeToo.

In 2018, the FRONTLINE film Weinstein investigated allegations that the famed power-broker had sexually harassed and abused women for decades. It also detailed his and his supporters’ use of non-disclosure agreements, legal threats and private investigators to silence accusers.

On Feb. 24, Weinstein was found guilty on two charges: committing a criminal sexual act for forcing oral sex on a former production assistant, and rape in the third degree for assaulting an aspiring actress.

Weinstein had pled not guilty to the five charges he initially faced, and has continued to maintain his innocence. The morning of the ruling, he addressed the court, saying that he had “great remorse for all women” and is “totally confused.”

In a press conference outside the courthouse immediately after the ruling, Weinstein attorney Donna Rotunno called the sentencing “obscene,” “ridiculous,” and “way too harsh.”

Before handing down his ruling, Burke declared that the producer must now register as a sex offender. He then announced a consecutive sentence of 23 years: 20 years in prison plus five years of supervised release for the criminal sexual act conviction, and three additional years in prison for rape.

“We remain in solidarity with the more than 100 survivors who suffered abuse, harassment, and rape at the hands of Harvey Weinstein,” Tina Tchen, president and CEO of the TIME’S UP Foundation said in a statement after the sentencing. “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 must now face charges, filed early in 2020 by California prosecutors, that he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another over two days in 2013. If convicted, he would face up to 28 additional years in state prison for four felony counts, including forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.


Karen Pinchin

Karen Pinchin, Tow Journalism Fellow, FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism Fellowship, FRONTLINE

Twitter:

@karenpinchin

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