Today marked the day that Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison. The sentence was handed by New York Supreme Court Judge James Burke, who had dismissed the former Hollywood producer and newly convicted rapist’s pleas for the minimum five-year hitch. Before issuing the sentence, Judge Burke also told Weinstein that he will be formally registered as a sex offender.
The sentencing ends Weinstein’s New York trial, which began Jan. 6. He was convicted on Feb. 24 of committing a Criminal Sexual Act in the first degree and third-degree rape. His team has said they will appeal the jury’s decision to convict him on two of the five charges he faced. Weinstein’s lawyers said that no members of his family attended the sentencing.
The sentence was addressed in a packed courtroom with two rows filled with accusers who testified during the trial. They include Jessica Mann, Miriam “Mimi” Haley, Annabella Sciorra, Tarale Wulff, Lauren Young, and Dawn Dunning. Along with them, supporter and witness Rosie Perez and attorney Gloria Allred entered the courtroom as a group before Weinstein’s arrival. They recounted emotional experiences of intense helplessness and confusion from sexual and verbal attacks, and the lives, careers, and mental states that Weinstein had destroyed.
Addressing to the women who have accused him of misconduct, Weinstein had mumbled before the sentence was dealt, “I have great remorse for all of you. I have great remorse for all women.” He added, “I really feel remorse for this situation. I feel it deeply in my heart.”
However, he also added that he was “totally confused” and that “men are confused about this issue.” In response, Judge Burke stated that there was no confusion, that this was not his first offense. After the statement passed, Weinstein promptly left the courtroom.
Weinstein’s attorney Donna Rotunno reported outside the courthouse: “The sentence just handed down by this court was obscene. That number was obnoxious. There are murderers who will get out of court (sic) faster than Harvey Weinstein will. That number spoke to the pressure of movements and the public. That number did not speak to evidence, nor did it speak to justice. I am overcome with anger at that number. I think that number is a cowardly number to give. I think the judge caved, just as I believe the jury caved, and I am not happy.”
In his statement, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance thanked the court for “imposing a sentence that puts sexual predators and abusive partners in all segments of society on notice.” He added: “We thank the survivors for their remarkable statements today and indescribable courage over the last two years. Harvey Weinstein deployed nothing less than an army of spies to keep them silent. But they refused to be silent, and they were heard. Their words took down a predator and put him behind bars, and gave hope to survivors of sexual violence all across the world.”