The 67-year-old producer was found guilty in a trial in New York a month ago. The sentencing took place on Wednesday. Weinstein is likely to face another trial in Los Angeles soon.
#MeToo: Sexual offender Harvey Weinstein put away for 23 years
Mumbai - 12 Mar 2020 12:25 IST
Updated : 14:06 IST
Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexual crimes. The producer was found guilty by a trial court in New York a month ago.
Arriving in court in a wheelchair, the producer later complained of 'chest pains' and was taken to hospital after the decision was announced.
Weinstein was convicted last month of raping and assaulting an aspiring actress in a New York City hotel in 2013 and of sexual assault on a production assistant in 2006.
The conviction was the first major outcome of the wave of high-profile allegations against the movie producer, who was accused of using his clout to lure women and force them to perform sexual acts on him.
The Associated Press news agency quoted Judge James Burke as saying, "Although this is a first conviction, this is not a first offence."
Weinstein's legal counsel had appealed for 'leniency' citing his health and suggesting that any sentence beyond five years would be a 'life sentence'. But the judge was not impressed.
The jury had earlier acquitted the producer of the more serious charges of predatory sexual behaviour, which might have resulted in a much longer sentence.
Six women testified against Weinstein, offering proof of his crimes. In his statement before the conviction, Weinstein, while claiming that he was repentant, also expressed 'confusion' at the things going on 'in this country'.
CNN quoted the statement as saying, "You know, the movement started basically with me, and I think what happened, you know, I was the first example, and now there are thousands of men who are being accused and regeneration of things that I think none of us understood."
He went on to say, "I had wonderful times with these people, you know. It is just [that] I'm totally confused and I think men are confused about all of these issues. You know, I just — dealing with the thousands of men and women who are losing due process, I'm worried about this country in a sense too."
Meanwhile, the district attorney's office in Los Angeles announced that it had set in motion the process for extaditing Weinstein to California to face sexual assault and rape charges there, The New York Times newspaper reported. Prosecutors in Los Angeles county filed charges against him in January in connection with attacks on two women in February 2013.
Weinstein, about whom rumours had circulated in Hollywood and media circles for at least a couple of decades, was the first of many powerful media personalities to be accused by women of sexual harassment and predatory behaviour.
It led to the launch of the #MeToo movement in 2017, which arrived in India in 2018 and took a toll of several leading names in the film and media industries. Among the prominent ones to be accused of wrongdoing were actors Alok Nath and Nana Patekar, music composer Anu Malik, directors Vikas Bahl and Sajid Khan, and lyricist Vairamuthu. While several accusations were made, there have been no cases filed so far, much less any convictions.
However, the accusations led to the mandatory implementation of PoSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) rules in studios and contracts by the Producers' Guild of India.