Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Thursday in downtown Los Angeles to 16 years in prison for rape and other sex crimes.
With the already incarcerated former producer in attendance at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center courtroom today, the somewhat delayed ruling by Judge Lisa B. Lench is in addition to the 23 years the much-accused Weinstein was sentenced to by a Manhattan judge in March 2020 for other rape and other sex crimes.
Of the trio of L.A. counts for which he was convicted last year, Weinstein was given eight years on Count #1, six years for Count #2, and two years for Count #3. The judge said the sentences are to run consecutively.
“These are not easy decisions to make, but this is my decision,” Lench told the packed courtroom of her ruling.
After an impact statement from Jane Doe #1 but before sentencing today, a seated Weinstein addressed the court. “I maintain that I’m innocent,” he said. I never raped or sexually assaulted Jane Doe #1. I never knew this woman, and the fact is she doesn’t know me. This is about money.”
“Please don’t sentence me to life in prison,” the soon-to-be 71-year-old added. “I don’t deserve it. There are so many things wrong with this case.”
In her statement in court Thursday, a tearful Jane Doe #1 said that Weinstein had “broken me into a million pieces.” Thanking the jury for their verdict, Jane Doe #1 also said: “Ten years later, the effects of this rape are still raw and difficult to discuss.” Addressing Judge Lench directly, she concluded, “Your honor I hope you can understand my suffering. There is no prison sentence long enough to undo the damage. I hope that you give him the maximum sentence allowable.”
Ahead of today’s sentencing hearing, the Los Angeles District Attorney had asked Lench to give Weinstein to the “high-term” maximum sentence of 24 years based on the prior New York City conviction.
Even with an ongoing appeal of that East Coast conviction, the 70-year-old Weinstein will serve his West Coast sentence after completing his current confinement, Judge Lench ruled Thursday. Which means, unless his NYC appeal or already announced L.A. appeal is successful, it is almost certain at this point that Weinstein will die in prison. The ailing and shuffling Weinstein is not eligible for parole on his East Coast sentence until 2039, when he will be 86.
The ex-Miramax boss has been behind bars and housed in Los Angeles’ Twin Towers Correctional Facility since being extradited from a prison outside Buffalo in the summer of 2021. As he did following a explosive 2017 exposé by the New York Times and dozens of allegations over more than 40 years, Weinstein has always insisted he is not guilty of the allegations in the L.A. case, and the sex that he said did occur was consensual.
Following a nearly two-month Los Angeles trial with more than few breaks, the jury found Weinstein guilty on December 19 on all counts in relation to Jane Doe #1. However the panel of eight men and four women determined he was not guilty of sexual battery of Jane Doe #2, and they were deadlocked on charges on Jane Doe #3 and Jane Doe #4, that latter being California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom.
After the initial charges against Weinstein were trimmed mid-trial in November, he faced grand jury indictments of two counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault in incidents in L.A. County spanning 2004 to 2013.
In the aftermath of the mixed verdict, Weinstein’s Werkman Jackson & Quinn attorneys filed paperwork last month requesting a new trial. Claiming that “the jury was left with a false impression” of Jane Doe #1 and her allegations and overall credibility, the motion also took a specific swipe at LA Deputy DAs Marlene Martinez and Paul Thompson for creating a “false version” of events and circumstances in the presentation of their case. That motion was denied today by Lench.
Further complicating matters, on February 9, Jane Doe #1 filed a civil lawsuit against Weinstein claiming sexual battery, false imprisonment, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress regarding the alleged February 2013 sexual assault in her Beverly Hills hotel room. That suit became the focus of more filings by the defense team, now saying that witnesses lied on the stand during the trial and that Jane Doe #1 is looking for money – as Weinstein himself reiterated today.
Unlikely as it is, the D.A.’s office has not officially decided if they will seek a retrial on the hung counts from last year. A hearing is scheduled for March 14 to address that matter, if prosecutors haven’t made it public beforehand.
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