Film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in prison for a rape and sex assault case that ignited the #MeToo movement in the United States.
That sentence in Manhttan Supreme Court was less than the maximum 29 years requested by prosecutors, but could amount to an effective life sentence behind bars for the 67-year-old Weinstein, who has been in apparently frail health.
And the sentence also was far higher than the minimum of five years in prison, which his lawyers asked requested from Judge James Burke.
Watching in the courtroom were all of the women who had testified at trial against the once-feared mogul, who was convicted Feb. 24 of rape and committing a criminal sexual act more than two years after explosive news articles about his alleged serial sexual abuse of women.
“He has been using and abusing people his whole life,” said prosecutor Joan Illuzzi.
The producer of films including “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “Gangs of New York” was found not guilty of the most serious charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault for which he could have been sentenced to life in prison. He also was acquitted of first-degree rape.
The minimum sentence that Weinstein faced Wednesday when he was rolled into a courtroom in a wheelchair was five years in prison, which is t
“I am totally confused,” Weinstein told Burke before he was sentenced, according to Variety. “I think men are confused about all of this ... this feeling of thousands of men and women who are losing due process, I’m worried about this country.”
Jurors found him guilty of committing a first-degree criminal sexual act by forcibly performing oral sex on production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006.
Weinstein still faces pending criminal charges in Los Angeles, where where prosecutors in January accused him of raping one woman and sexually assaulting a second woman over a two-day period in 2013.
Weinstein has been in custody since his conviction.
He originally was taken to a medical jail unit at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, but recently was shipped to the notorious Rikers Island jail complex in New York City.
He will serve his sentence in an upstate New York prison.