Courts Other Issues Violence Against Women

Harvey Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison

Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday morning.

The sentencing comes after a jury found him guilty of rape and a criminal sexual act on February 24. He was acquitted of two counts of predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape. Justice James A. Burke of the New York State Supreme Court could have sentenced Weinstein to anywhere from five to 29 years in prison. Weinstein will be formally registered as a sex offender but will be eligible for supervised release after 23 years.

The lead prosecutor for the case, Joan Illuzi, said that a long list of allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein showed “a lifetime of abuse toward others, sexual and otherwise” and a “total lack of remorse for the harm he has caused.” She praised the six women who testified against Weinstein, saying that without their words, “the defendant would have never been stopped from hurting and destroying more lives.”

Jessica Mann, one of the survivors who testified, said of Weinstein, “This was a known offender.”

The allegations against Weinstein were a landmark in the #MeToo movement, which has exposed widespread sexual misconduct across various industries. On October 5, 2017, the New York Times published an article describing how Weinstein paid off sexual harassment accusers for decades. In the days after, more than 100 women came forward to describe their experiences of harassment, misconduct and abuse at the hands of Weinstein, who was fired from his multimillion dollar production company. Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker published two articles (here and here), and later a book entitled Catch and Kill, investigating how Weinstein and other powerful men abused their power, fame and money to suppress their survivors.

Actress Mira Sorvino, who has spoken about her experience being harassed by Weinstein and later her experience with helping expose him, described her reaction to his conviction: “I literally cried tears of amazement, gratitude that the justice system has worked on behalf of all of his victims today.”

Sources: New York Times 03/11/20; New York Times 02/24/20; Hollywood Reporter 03/11/20; TIME 03/11/20; New York Times 10/05/17; The New Yorker 10/10/17; The New Yorker 11/06/17; New York Times 10/11/19; Hollywood Reporter 12/08/17; Mira Sorvino 03/11/20.