Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 16 years for LA rape conviction
LOS ANGELES - Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in prison for sexually assaulting a model-actress in a Los Angeles hotel room about a decade ago.
Weinstein, 70, was convicted Dec. 19 of one count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by a foreign object occurring on or about Feb. 18, 2013, on a woman identified only as Jane Doe No. 1.
Jurors deadlocked on a charge of sexual battery by restraint involving an alleged attack in February 2013 against Jane Doe No. 2 and counts of forcible oral copulation and forcible rape involving an alleged attack in 2005 on Jane Doe No. 4 -- the latter of whom has been publicly identified by her attorney as Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The jury acquitted Weinstein of a felony charge of sexual battery by restraint involving an alleged attack on a masseuse -- Jane Doe No. 3 -- in 2010, but deadlocked on a lesser count involving the same woman. The judge noted that the misdemeanor count was not charged, and the prosecution said in December that it didn't intend to move forward involving that alleged victim.
Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench denied a defense motion for a new trial before handing down her sentence.
Weinstein addressed the court prior to sentencing, insisting he is innocent and was the victim of a "setup."
"I never knew this woman, and the fact is she doesn't know me," he said. "This is about money."
Weinstein accused Jane Doe No. 1 of perjuring herself.
"This is a made up story," he said. "Jane Doe No. 1 is an actress. She can turn the tears on."
One of Weinstein's attorneys, Mark Werksman, said he planned to file an immediate appeal of his client's conviction and sentence.
Jane Doe No. 1 also addressed the court prior to sentencing, saying "the effects of this rape and still raw and difficult to discuss."
"His selfish, disgusting actions have greatly impacted my life," she said. "Before that night I was very happy and confident woman. I valued myself and the relationship I had with God. I was excited about my future. Everything changed after the defendant brutally assaulted me."
She asked that Weinstein be given the maximum possible prison sentence, saying, "There is no prison sentence long enough to undo the damage."
Defense attorneys argued in their court filing that evidence involving Jane Doe No. 1 -- the victim in the three counts on which he was convicted - - was wrongly excluded from the trial and that the jury was not properly instructed.
Deputy District Attorneys Paul Thompson and Marlene Martinez wrote in a court filing last week that Weinstein is serving a 23-year prison sentence for his convictions for sexually assaulting two women in New York and called his attack on Jane Doe No. 1 "part of a larger, decades-long pattern." The prosecutors are asking that the sentence be run consecutively with his case in New York.
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Weinstein's sentence in Los Angeles will be served consecutively to his sentence in the New York case.
Prosecutors argued during the trial that Weinstein used his position as one of Hollywood's most successful movie producers to gain access to and sexually assault women. Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson told jurors at the start of the case that Weinstein and his brother, Bob, created Miramax Films, which produced a number of "iconic and award-winning films" including "Pulp Fiction," "The English Patient," "Good Will Hunting" and "Shakespeare In Love," among others. The movies launched the careers of Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow and Quentin Tarantino, Thompson said.
Weinstein won an Oscar as a producer of best-picture winner "Shakespeare in Love."
Weinstein -- whom Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez had earlier called a "titan of the film industry" -- engaged in "despicable behavior" and made sure that the alleged victims knew he "could destroy them," the prosecutor said in her closing argument. Martinez told jurors that Weinstein used his power to prey on and silence women. She called him a "predator," and said none of the women making accusations against Weinstein knew each other.
But defense attorney Alan Jackson told the jury that the entirety of the prosecution's case could be summed up with five words -- "Take my word for it" -- and said the alleged victims lied on the stand about what was actually "consensual" or "transactional" sex with the now-disgraced filmmaker.
"Did one person come in here and say, `I said no to Harvey Weinstein and he screwed my career?' Was there one? ... Not one person said that because it's a fable ... It just isn't true," Jackson said.
The producer did not testify in his own defense.
City News Service contributed to this report