A New York court has sentenced former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein to 23 years in prison on the charges of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act. He was facing between five and 29 years and was acquitted of two of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault, which could have come with a life sentence, at the end of his trial in February 2020.
Two of his accusers, Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann, spoke at the sentencing hearing. “If Harvey Weinstein had not been convicted by this jury, it would have happened again and again and again,” Haley said in court on March 10, per CNN. “I’m relieved he will now know he’s not above the law. I’m relieved there are women out there who are safer because he’s not out there.” Mann said she wants the “gift” of knowing exactly where Weinstein is at all times, according to CNN> “Twelve people found Harvey unanimously guilty of raping me. That is not an easy task,” she said and also referred to drug charges that carry longer sentence recommendations than third-degree rape. “How am I not worth more than cocaine?” she asked.
After his conviction in February, one of Weinstein’s lawyers Arthur Aidala said his client said, “I’m innocent. I’m innocent. I’m innocent. How could this happen in America?” Weinstein and his legal team have yet to release a statement on the sentencing.
In many ways, Weinstein became the most famous face of the #MeToo movement’s resurgence after stories in the New York Times and the New Yorker laid out allegations of a history of abusive behavior toward women, both extremely famous and not. Stars like Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, and Salma Hayek told their stories, as did so many others like Haley and Mann.
Reaction to the sentencing online was swift.
“What a recognition for the millions of survivors who have been called liars, for survivors who were sure no one would believe them, for survivors who were utterly failed by the system. Doesn’t fix everything but powerful sign the times are changing,” Erin White of the organization Safe Horizon tweeted. “To the #SilenceBreakers You made this day happen. You stood in your truth. You made the world listen. We believe you. I hope you can sleep better tonight. Thank you. And folks in power positions, hire these women,” Melissa Silverstein wrote.
“JUSTICE for #SilenceBreakers and survivors of sexual abuse everywhere. This is only the beginning. #TimesUp,” actor and activist Amber Tamblyn posted.
This story will be updated as new details emerge.