Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 16 years in prison in Los Angeles for rape

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Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 16 years in prison in Los Angeles for rape

Former producer Harvey Weinstein at the Los Angeles Courthouse on October 4, 2022.

Former Hollywood star producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in prison in Los Angeles for the 2013 rape and sexual assault of a European model.

For these acts committed in a Beverly Hills hotel, the 70-year-old former king of cinema, producer of award-winning hits like Pulp Fiction , faced up to 18 years in prison.

He risks ending his days behind bars, as he is already serving a 23-year prison sentence after his conviction in New York in 2020 for similar acts and which he appealed.

Even before his sentence was announced, Harvey Weinstein had announced that he wanted to appeal his conviction in Los Angeles.

This second trial for Mr. Weinstein, whose fall in 2017 freed the voices of many women and spawned the #MeToo movement, saw four women testify anonymously against him.

Through several weeks of a bitter and harrowing hearing, sometimes interrupted by plaintiffs' sobbing, they accused the former Hollywood titan of coercing them into sex in Beverly Hills hotels and of Los Angeles between 2004 and 2013.

The prosecution had portrayed Mr. Weinstein as an all-powerful ogre, a predator whose stranglehold on Hollywood – the films that he produced received more than 330 Oscar nominations and 81 statuettes – has long kept his victims from speaking out, for fear of career repercussions.

His lawyers have worked to cast doubt on the word of the four complainants, highlighting in particular the absence of forensic evidence to support their stories.

The trial ended with a split verdict. Jurors found Mr. Weinstein guilty of all charges brought by the European model.

They did, however, find him not guilty regarding those of a second woman, and did not issue a verdict regarding the allegations made by the other two.

After the criminal conviction of the ex-producer, the model, recognized as a victim at the end of the trial, filed a complaint in early February before a court in Los Angeles, seeking civil damages.

Consulted by AFP, this complaint does not specify the amount claimed. She insists on the physical and mental suffering caused by the rape and the sexual assaults suffered.

In 2021, a civil settlement awarded $17 million to several dozen women accusing the former producer, but this woman was not one of them.

Rumors about Mr. Weinstein's behavior have been circulating in Hollywood for years. The scandal finally broke in 2017, thanks to press investigations compiling multiple accusations, which sparked the #MeToo movement.

Nearly 90 women, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosanna Arquette, have since accused Harvey Weinstein of harassment, sexual assault or rape. But the statute of limitations has been exceeded in many of these cases, some of which date back to 1977.

In addition to his legal setbacks in the United States, the ex-producer is also charged in the UK with sexual assaults that date back to 1996.

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