Weinstein sentenced in landmark #MeToo case

NEW YORK (AP) — The final act of Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial in New York began yesterday, when the once-powerful film producer was sentenced following his landmark #MeToo conviction.

Weinstein was sentenced yesterday in New York City. He faced up to 29 years behind bars for raping an aspiring actress in 2013 and a TV and film production assistant in 2006. A second criminal case is pending in California.

Both women that Weinstein was convicted of assaulting gave victim impact statements before he was sentenced. Weinstein also had a chance to speak. He opted not to testify at his trial, but at sentencing he didn’t have to worry about getting grilled by prosecutors.

Other women who’ve accused Weinstein — including some who testified at his trial — were not permitted to speak at his sentencing under state law. One of those witnesses, Tarale Wulff, who accused Weinstein of raping her in 2005, said in a statement on Tuesday that she will still attend and hopes that the sentence “sends a clear message that times have changed”, Weinstein was convicted on two counts: criminal sex act for the 2006 assault on the production assistant and rape in the third degree for a 2013 attack on another woman. On the criminal sex act count, he faced a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 25 years in prison, while the third-degree rape count carry a maximum penalty of four years in prison.

Weinstein was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault stemming from actress Annabella Sciorra’s allegations of a mid-1990s rape. Weinstein maintains his innocence and contends that any sexual activity was consensual.

The New York case was the first criminal matter against Weinstein to arise from accusations of more than 90 women, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Uma Thurman. Many of Weinstein’s accusers said he used his Hollywood prestige to befriend them, dangling movie roles to gain their trust. Weinstein’s lawyers are seeking the minimum sentence of five years in prison because of his age and frail health.

Weinstein, who turns 68 next week, used a walker throughout the trial following recent back surgeries. After his February 24 conviction, he split time between a hospital and a jail infirmary unit, and had a stent inserted last week to unblock an artery.

Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan courthouse as jury deliberations continue in his rape trial. PHOTO: AP