Harvey Weinstein, one of the most infamous Hollywood movie producers, has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexually assaulting actress Jessica Mann and production assistant Mimi Haleyi. The two women, along with others accusing Weinstein of sexual assault and who testified against him, read impact statements to the judge.
“This incident with Harvey Weinstein altered the course of my life,” Haleyi said, adding, “I’m relieved that there are women out there who are safer because he’s not out there.”
Jessica Mann focused on why she did not physically resist Weinstein. She said the producer “had every advantage over me, given the immense physical stature of Harvey Weinstein’s height and weight and ox-like strength.”
The minimum sentence for the crime was five years, but the state prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon had requested the maximum sentence of 29 years, saying Weinstein lived “a life rooted in criminality, criminality that has gone unchecked for decades.” Illuzzi-Orbon cited three dozen allegations of sex crimes and other forms of abuse dating to the 1970s, which she argued “establish that throughout his entire adult professional life, defendant has displayed a staggering lack of empathy, treating others with disdain and inhumanity.”
Weinstein was the center of the online #MeToo movement, which brought attention to the rampant sexual assault in various industries. Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., James Franco, and others have been revealed to abuse their positions, but Weinstein's predatory behavior was an open secret in the industry. He had a long history of using his power and status to pressure people into his wishes. Actress Mira Sorvino revealed that she was blackballed from the industry after turning down Weinstein's advances and he'd often brag to his victims about how sleeping with him helped pave the way for successful career.
Weinstein's attorneys argued for a five year sentence, saying that he's suffered enough. “Mr. Weinstein cannot walk outside without being heckled, he has lost his means to earn a living, simply put, his fall from grace has been historic, perhaps unmatched in the age of social media,” they wrote in a letter to Justice James Burke on Monday. Weinstein himself has stated that he hasn't seen his three oldest children since the New Yorker and New York Times published its initial set of sexual misconduct allegations against him. “I have no idea what they’re doing and I have no communication with them. That for me is hell on earth.”