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Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sex assault convictions

Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison
Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison 02:17

Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison Wednesday for his rape and criminal sex act convictions following an emotional trial that was a landmark moment in the #MeToo era. Weinstein was convicted Feb. 24 of rape in the third degree for assaulting aspiring actress Jessica Mann in a New York City hotel room in 2013, and of committing a criminal sex act for forcing oral sex on former production assistant Mimi Haley in 2006. 

Harvey Weinstein juror: "There was nothing simple" about decision

Weinstein arrived in a wheelchair Wednesday morning to the Manhattan courthouse, facing a maximum sentence of 29 years. A judge sentenced him to serve three years for Mann's rape and 20 years for the assault on Haley. He must also serve five years of post-release supervision and register as a sex offender.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents some of Weinstein's victims, said she felt the sentence was fair and appropriate, but "whether he will ever be truly sorry, I don't know."

"This is a new day," Allred said. "It's a new day for women to know that if you have courage, there will be consequences for the predators who hurt you. So for the predators who are going to wake up and fear tomorrow, 'Are they coming for me next?' My answer is, 'Probably, yes.'"

Weinstein addressed the court before he was sentenced, saying "I wasn't about power, I was about making movies." He has maintained any sexual activity was consensual, and told the court he believed he had friendly relationships with the women.  

"I had wonderful times with these people," he said.

He said he felt "remorse for the situation" but appeared to disparage the #MeToo movement, saying "men are confused" and "losing due process."

Sexual Misconduct Weinstein
Actress Annabella Sciorra, right, arrives as a witness in Harvey Weinstein's rape trial, in New York, Thursday, January 23, 2020. Richard Drew/AP

"I'm worried about this country," he said.

Before the judge handed down the sentence, Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi thanked the six women who testified against Weinstein, all of whom were in the courtroom gallery. 

"Without these women and others who were willing to come forward," Illuzzi said, "this matter would never have been able to be taken, it never would have been successful, and the defendant would never have been able to stop hurting or destroying other people's lives."  

Illuzzi said Weinstein "got drunk on power."

"He could take what he wanted knowing there was very little anyone could do about it," Illuzzi said. 

Mann and Haley both also addressed the court, describing the impact of the assaults on the lives.

"I believe that when he attacked me that evening with physical force with no regard for anything I said," Haley said, "what he did… stripped me of my dignity as a woman."

Haley became emotional, describing how she felt "trapped" and unable to go to officials.

"At the time all of this happened I thought I was alone in this, I had no idea there were others, I didn't realize the extent of Harvey Weinstein's manipulative and calculated predatory behavior," Haley said.

Haley said she has seen a "lack of remorse and a lack of awareness" on the part of Weinstein during the trial. She asked Judge James Burke to impose "whatever sentence is long enough for Harvey Weinstein to acknowledge what he's done to me and to others and to be truly sorry."

Haley, speaking with "CBS This Morning" after the trial, said hearing the guilty verdict was a "huge relief."

"I felt just very grateful that they — that I'd been heard and believed," Haley said.  

In her impact statement on Wednesday, Mann asked the judge to "please understand" as she couldn't fight back during the assault. "My spirit and my emotions are the last things I have to control," Mann said. "I want to remind you that I told Harvey no."

Mann also emphasized the lasting impact on victims.

"Rape is not just the moment of penetration, it is forever," she said. 

Sexual Misconduct Weinstein
Annabella Sciorra, right, walks arm-in-arm with Rosie Perez, as they arrive at court for the sentencing of Harvey Weinstein, in his rape trial, in New York, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Richard Drew / AP

The sentencing comes after documents were unsealed in the case Monday that revealed correspondence from Weinstein in 2017 as the public allegations against him mounted. In one October 2017 email, Weinstein responded to an inquiry from The National Enquirer about an allegation that he had groped Jennifer Aniston by saying, "Jen Aniston should be killed."

A spokesperson for Aniston told media outlets Tuesday the claim Weinstein groped the actress was unfounded.

The correspondence also revealed that Weinstein reached out to about two dozen high-profile figures to ask for help that same month, including Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg.

"My board is thinking of firing me," Weinstein wrote to Bloomberg. "All I'm asking for is, let me take a leave of absence and get into heavy therapy and counseling whether it be in a facility or somewhere else, and allow me to resurrect myself with a second chance."

In December 2017, in an unpublished response to the allegations, Weinstein calls himself a sex addict and an anger addict and says he is "suicidal." And correspondence from the previous month shows his brother Bob Weinstein denounced the disgraced producer as a liar, writing to him: "U deserve a lifetime achievement award for the sheer savagery and immorality and inhumanness, for the acts u have perpetrated. Oh I forgot. They were all consensual."

In a letter delivered to Burke on Monday, Weinstein's defense asked Burke to sentence Weinstein to the minimum term of five years, arguing the trial "did not fairly portray who he is as a person."

"His life story, his accomplishments, and struggles are simply remarkable and should not be disregarded in total because of the jury's verdict," the letter read.

Defense attorneys cited his age -- 67 -- and health issues, saying that even the shortest term could be "a de facto life sentence." Weinstein was hospitalized due to concerns about high blood pressure and heart palpitations for more than a week after his conviction, reports the Associated Press. He was reportedly transferred to the infirmary at New York City's Rikers Island jail complex late last week.

Weinstein used a walker during his trial, and his lawyers have said he had an unsuccessful back surgery following a car crash.

The defense also cited the intense media coverage of the case and said his life has been "destroyed" since allegations were first published about him in the media in 2017: "...Simply put, his fall from grace has been historic, perhaps unmatched in the age of social media," his attorneys wrote.

Weinstein was not convicted of more serious charges of predatory sexual assault, and the jury did not find that he used force against Mann, defense attorneys stressed.

Weinstein witness: Conviction a "huge relief"... 05:22

But in their own letter, the Manhattan District Attorney's office asked Burke to sentence Weinstein to a term "that reflects the seriousness of the defendant's conduct, his total lack of remorse for the harm he has caused, and the need to deter him and others from engaging in further criminal conduct."

Prosecutors cited a series of allegations spanning decades from women who said Weinstein assaulted them, describing what they called "a lifetime of abuse toward others, sexual and otherwise." The claims dated back to 1978, when prosecutors said Weinstein told an employee of his music company there was "only one room left" at a New York hotel. She agreed to share a room with him but later awoke to find him sexually assaulting her, according to the letter. 

At Weinstein's trial, too, prosecutors sought to prove Weinstein had a pattern of assaulting women by calling accusers whose claims could not be prosecuted under state statutes of limitations.

Following the sentencing, Weinstein is expected to undergo a medical evaluation before he is transferred from the city jail system to the state prison system, the AP reports. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced Wednesday it has begun the process of extraditing Weinstein to Los Angeles to face sexual assault charges filed there in January. The timing of that case remains unclear.

Weinstein's lawyers have said he will appeal the verdict in New York. Speaking after the hearing Wednesday, his lawyer Donna Rotunno called the sentence "totally unfair," saying the judge was under pressure to impose a harsh sentence.

CBS News' Cassandra Gauthier contributed reporting.

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