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Harvey Weinstein
Via Wikimedia

Cheers in court – Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison

The rapist and disgraced Hollywood producer has finally been convicted, after being found guilty of raping one victim and forcing oral sex on another

Harvey Weinstein’s day has come, as the Hollywood producer has been sentenced to 23 years in prison.

The disgraced mogul was found guilty of two sexual abuse charges at his rape trial in New York last month (February 24) – a criminal sex act in the first degree and rape in the third degree, involving two different women. The jury also found him not guilty of two more serious charges of predatory sexual assault, as well as first-degree rape.

Weinstein addressed the court for the first time today (March 11) before his sentencing, saying that he felt “deep remorse”, but described himself as “totally confused” by what had happened. He said: “I think men are confused about all of this… this feeling of thousands of men and women who are losing due process.” 

According to Variety, Miriam Haley – the production assistant whom Weinstein was found guilty of forcing oral sex on in 2006 – told the judge that the incident has scarred her “mentally and emotionally”. She added: “What he did not only stripped me of my dignity as a human being and a woman, but it crushed my confidence.” Jessica Mann – the aspiring actor who was raped by Weinstein in 2013 – said: “I don’t know how to explain the horrors of being raped by someone who has power. The impact on the psyche is profound. Rape is not just one moment – it is forever.” Both women entered the court with four other witnesses from the trial, all of whom were cheered as they walked in and out.

Weinstein reportedly apologised to both women after listening to their statements in “stunned disbelief”, but has consistently denied any allegations of non-consensual sex, despite being accussed of abuse by at least 100 women. After revealing his sentencing, the judge allegedly told Weinstein: “This is your first conviction, not your first offence.”

Writing on Twitter, journalist Jodi Kantor – who co-authored the 2017 New York Times exposé about the 67-year-old’s crimes – said: “23 years for Harvey Weinstein. @mega2e (NYT exposé co-author Megan Twohey) and I just witnessed it for ourselves. Weinstein was cuffed to his wheelchair then rolled away. The women who testified sobbed afterwards.”

The sentencing marks a huge moment both for the #MeToo movement and for victims of sexual violence more widely. Speaking to The Guardian in February, Michelle Simpson Tuegel, an attorney who represents sexual assault survivors, said: “The #MeToo era has thankfully started to unmask these systems of abuse of power, and now women can be heard and believed.”

Weinstein is still set to face trial in Los Angeles for four more counts of rape and sexual battery charges.

Read our interview with Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the women who exposed Weinstein, here.