Hollywood giant and co-founder of Miramax Films, Harvey Weinstein, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison in addition to the 23 years sentencing in New York is served. The disgraced movie producer was sentenced on Thursday by Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench for the 2013 rape of a model and actress in Los Angeles.
The 70-year-old Hollywood titan might likely serve out the rest of his years in prison since he will be 109 years old by the time he completes his prison term – provided he is not convicted and sentenced for the tens of other sexual allegations leveled against him by up to 100 women. In the Los Angeles case, Weinstein was convicted of rape, forcible oral sex, and sexual penetration with a foreign object.
Seated in a wheelchair and wearing a brown jail garb, Weinstein begged the judge to not sentence him to life in prison – contending that he was innocent of the allegations against him and that the plaintiff made up her story to rip money from him.
“I maintain that I’m innocent,” Weinstein said. “This is a made-up story. Jane Doe 1 (the victim was identified as Jane Doe 1) is an actress. She can turn the tears on. This is about money and coming after me. Please don’t sentence me to life in prison. I don’t deserve it. There are so many things wrong with this case. There is no evidence. This is a setup. I beg your mercy.”
While Weinstein’s lawyers admitted that their client may have actually molested his victims sexually, they pleaded with Judge Lench to be lenient with him given his ailing health, spinal problem, and coronary artery disease. The defense team was led by Mark Werksman and Alan Jackson.
“He’s a 70-year-old man in bad health,” Werksman said. “He lived a full, rich, and productive life that included being a father of five children. He has become to his children the disembodied voice on the telephone. Mr. Weinstein did a lot of good for a lot of people in a 50-year career. He produced hundreds of films that were a joy to millions of people. He was a man that many famous movie stars would thank in their Oscar speeches. He gave generously to charities and political causes.”
Legal analysts said the judge had the leeway to sentence Weinstein to the maximum 24 years recommended by prosecutors, and so he was lucky to get away with 16 years for his horrendous acts. The sexual charges against Weinstein drove the #MeToo movement, in which thousands of women spoke up about being abused by powerful men in the entertainment industry, business, and in politics.