Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in jail for rape and sexual assault.
The former movie producer showed up at a hearing in New York on the 11th of March, one morning where all of the women who testified against him were also present.
On the hearing, one of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers, Mimi Haleyi, gave a witness impact statement.
“The past couple of years have been excruciatingly stressful. I’ve lived in fear and paranoia on a daily basis. In fear of retaliation,”
“At the time all this [the sexual abuse] happened, I thought I was alone in this. I had no idea there were others.”
“I believe that if Harvey Weinstein was not convicted by this jury, it would happen again and again and again.”
Even before the hearing, prosecutors urged the judge to issue a sentence that ‘reflects the seriousness’ of Weinstein’s offenses and his ‘total lack of remorse’ for what he has caused.
The defense team of Weinstein, on the other hand, pleaded for the most lenient sentence possible, mentioning his old age, health, and the impact the media spotlight had on his young children as the reasons behind it.
A letter they sent to the judge read:
“Mr. Weinstein cannot walk outside without being heckled, he has lost his means to earn a living, simply put, his fall from grace has been historic, perhaps unmatched in the age of social media.”
The ruling has been handed down two weeks after the movie mogul was charged with rape in the third degree and criminal sexual act in the first degree.
The 67-year-old Weinstein, who was once one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood, went to trial at the start of the year after being charged with five counts of rape and sexual assault.
He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges but was discovered to be guilty of two.
However, Weinstein was cleared of the most serious charges against him, two counts of predatory sexual assault.
During the trial, the father-of-five was described by the prosecution as an ‘abusive rapist’ who preyed on his victims.
In her closing argument, the Manhattan Assistant District Attorney, Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, said:
“When Harvey Weinstein met the witnesses, he looked quite different than he does today. They were scared. They felt isolated and they were alone.”
Weinstein did not testify on the trial, however, one of the women who created allegations about him did.
She spoke about an incident in 2013, where she told the jury that Weinstein had ‘grabbed’ her and added:
“I was like, ‘Woah woah woah. I told you I wasn’t sexual and I don’t know you,’ all this stuff trying to calm it down.”
“He also peed on me once. It was like being discarded after I served a purpose.”
Weinstein’s case gave birth to the #MeToo movement that encouraged women to speak out and make their allegations against powerful men – particularly within Hollywood so that the men could be brought to justice and face their consequences.