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(Credit: David Shankbone)


Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison


Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced former Hollywood mogul, has been sentenced to 23 years in prison after being found guilty of rape at a trial in New York.

The 67-year-old, who has been accused by a huge number of women, was found guilty of raping aspiring actress Jessica Mann who was in attendance during the court trial. Weinstein was also found guilty of forcing oral sex on production assistant Miriam Haley.

Judge James Burke, speaking at a hearing at the Manhattan Criminal Court, handed out a 23-year sentence for Weinstein. The maximum possible sentence available to the judge for the two combined crimes was 29 years.

The two main victims of the case were in attendance and sat alongside four key witnesses in the shape of Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff and Lauren Young.

Judge James Burke said in court: “The sentence of the court is as follows: (For) criminal sexual act in the first degree, you are sentenced to 20 years in prison, five years post-release supervision….(For) rape in the third degree, three years prison, five years post-release supervision.”

Mann testified that Weinstein raped her on March 18, 2013, inside the DoubleTree hotel in Manhattan, New York, also claiming that he injected an erectile dysfunction drug into his penis before discarding the syringe. Mann, who broke down during her victim impact statement, told the judge “those were the screams of a terrified young woman reliving her experiences… those were the screams that will forever haunt those who witnessed me.”

“I had to endure his penis raping me on his time,” Mann added. “I wish I had been able to fight him while he raped me.” Mann’s distressing account added the Weinstein committed “crimes against humanity—they were not just crimes against me.”

She added: “Rape is not just one moment of penetration. It is forever… the impact lasts a lifetime.”

Haley also spoke in court, adding: “If Harvey Weinstein had not been convicted by this jury, it would have happened again and again and again. I’m relieved he will now know he’s not above the law. I’m relieved there are women out there who are safer because he’s not out there.”

Haley continued: “He violated my trust, my body and my basic right to reject his sexual advances. When he attacked me that evening, it scarred me emotionally and physically. It diminished my confidence and faith in people, and my confidence and faith in myself.”

Weinstein, who did not testify during the trial, addressed his victims before the sentencing: “I feel remorse for this situation. I feel it deep in my heart. I’m really trying to be a better person,” he said. He then added that he “would do a lot of things over. I would care less about the movies, and care more about my children and my family… I may never see my children again.”

Speaking prior, the 67-year-old added: “First of all to all the women who testified you may have given the truths… I have a great deal of remorse for all of you,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein then addressed the #MeToo movement: “We are going through this crisis right now in this country. The movement basically started with me… now there are thousands of men who are being accused.”