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By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Harvey Weinstein, the onetime Hollywood titan who got here to epitomize a tradition of pervasive sexual misconduct by highly effective males that ignited the #MeToo motion, was sentenced on Thursday to 16 years in jail for the 2013 rape of an actress in Los Angeles.
The sentence, to run consecutively to the 23-year jail time period that Weinstein, 70, already is serving for a sexual misconduct conviction in New York, made it all of the extra doubtless the Oscar-winning ex-producer will spend the remainder of his life incarcerated.
Weinstein, seated in a wheelchair in brown jail garb, professed his innocence and implored the decide, “I encourage your mercy,” moments earlier than she pronounced his sentence. The 2-hour continuing unfolded in the identical Los Angeles courtroom the place a jury in December discovered Weinstein responsible of rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by a overseas object.
The costs stemmed from an assault on a former mannequin and actress, recognized in courtroom as Jane Doe 1, at a Los Angeles resort in February 2013.
Addressing the courtroom by means of tears and a trembling voice close to the top of Thursday’s listening to, the girl stated she had been a “very completely satisfied and assured lady” till Weinstein raped her. Then, “I misplaced my id. I believed for certain that nobody might love me. I used to be heartbroken, empty and alone,” she added, choking again sobs.
The 16-year jail time period handed down by Superior Courtroom Decide Lisa Lench was extra lenient than the utmost 24 years beneficial by prosecutors however way more stiff than the sentence sought by Weinstein’s attorneys.
Protection counsel Mark Werksman requested that Weinstein get not more than three years for every of the three counts on which he was convicted, to be served concurrent to at least one one other, arguing the fees stemmed from “one persevering with sexual assault” that occurred in “one frenzied 10- to 15-minute ordeal,” relatively than as three separate legal acts.
It was a uncommon courtroom request for forgiveness by protection attorneys, at the same time as Weinstein himself continued to disclaim any wrongdoing.
In his assertion to the courtroom, Weinstein insisted he didn’t know Jane Doe 1 and argued that she had fabricated her account for cash.
“It is a made-up story. Jane Doe 1 is an actress. She will flip the tears on,” Weinstein advised the decide. “Please do not sentence me to life in jail.”
The protection additionally requested the decide to take into consideration Weinstein’s age and deteriorating well being, together with coronary artery illness and extreme spinal points.
FALL FROM HOLLYWOOD GRACE
It marked the newest low level in a exceptional fall from grace for the co-founder of Miramax Movies, the wildly profitable U.S. film manufacturing and distribution home that produced such movies as “Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction.” Weinstein gained an Oscar in 1999 as producer of “Shakespeare in Love,” that yr’s Academy Award winner for finest image.
Mounting sexual misconduct allegations towards Weinstein helped gas the #MeToo motion, which has inspired ladies to talk out about sexual harassment and abuse by highly effective males in media, politics and different endeavors. The motion, which went viral on social media in 2017, seeks to interrupt a tradition of silence that has lengthy allowed such conduct to go unchallenged.
Weinstein has stated all of his sexual encounters have been consensual.
Dave Ring, an lawyer for Jane Doe 1, stated Thursday’s sentencing supplied his shopper “with closure and aid, understanding Weinstein will spend the remainder of his life in jail the place he belongs.”
The Los Angeles jury acquitted Weinstein of fees referring to a second alleged sufferer and failed to achieve a unanimous verdict on fees arising from two different accusers.
One in every of them, documentary filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, now the spouse of California Governor Gavin Newsom, had disclosed she was the alleged rape sufferer referred to in courtroom information as Jane Doe 4.
Lench declared a mistrial on the deadlocked fees, and the Los Angeles County District Legal professional’s Workplace has but to determine whether or not to hunt to retry Weinstein on these counts.
Protection attorneys argued that the ladies willingly had intercourse with Weinstein as a result of they believed he would advance their careers, a part of what they stated was a widespread “casting sofa” tradition within the movie trade. In two of the instances, they stated the alleged sexual contact was fabricated.
Earlier than announcing sentence, the decide denied a protection movement to throw out Weinstein’s conviction and grant him a brand new trial.
Weinstein was discovered responsible of sexual misconduct in New York in February 2020, and is interesting the New York conviction and jail sentence. He was extradited from New York to California in July 2021 to face trial in Los Angeles.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Writing by Lisa Richwine; Modifying by William Mallard and Aurora Ellis)