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Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault in landmark #MeToo case

The allegations against him had, in fact, evoked the #MeToo social media campaign worldwide and many similar sexual abuse allegations against powerful men around the world started flowing in

In what is being considered as a big victory for the #MeToo movement, the New York court sentenced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault. The MeToo movement had started after allegations against Harvey had surfaced.

In the judgment that was announced on Wednesday morning at the Manhattan Supreme Court by Judge James Burke, the tainted filmmaker was given a minimum of five years and a maximum of 29 years in prison for raping an aspiring actress in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on a TV and film production assistant in 2006. A second criminal case is pending in California.

Weinstein (67) had arrived at his sentence hearing in a wheelchair and handcuffs. The former movie producer’s trial came to a close at the end of February, with a New York jury of five women and seven men finding him guilty of rape in the third degree and a criminal sexual act in the first degree. The charges were based on testimony in a New York courtroom by Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann, who both spoke at the sentencing.

From the Manhattan courtroom, Weinstein was taken to the Downstate Correctional Facility, in Fishkill, 75 miles north of New York City, to await his assignment to an upstate prison, where he will start to serve his term.

He is likely to be sent in the near future to Los Angeles, where he faces charges, including forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint. Those charges, based on allegations made by two women, carry a potential 28-year prison sentence.

On the eve of sentencing, more than 1000 pages of emails and documents sent by the disgraced film producer were made public in which he had begged forgiveness and support from friends including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, and Apple CEO Tim Cook. Weinstein told them, in November 2017, a month after The New York Times published bombshell allegations against him, that he was suicidal.

Weinstein’s own brother Bob, with whom he co-founded entertainment company Miramax, responded: “F–k u Harvey Weinstein. I pray there is a real hell. That’s where u belong. You deserve a lifetime achievement award for the sheer savagery and immorality and inhumanness, for the acts u have perpetrated,” he wrote, adding that his brother should not reply to the email.

Harvey Weinstein is a former movie producer who established the Miramax Films Corporation with his brother, Bob, in 1979. Miramax went on to produce critical and commercial hits like ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Shakespeare In Love’, and the brothers found more success after launching The Weinstein Company in 2005.

Weinstein’s reputation was severely damaged after the New York Times published an article in October 2017, detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. Actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd were among the women who had come forward. Among the accusations were that he forced women to massage him and watch him naked. He also promised to help advance their careers in return for sexual favours.

After this, many more women came up to share their ordeal, all of whom accused the producer of sexual harassment. More than 80 women had made allegations against Weinstein by October 31, 2017. Following these allegations, Weinstein was in October 2017, dismissed from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The allegations against him had, in fact, evoked the #MeToo social media campaign worldwide and many similar sexual abuse allegations against powerful men around the world started flowing in. This phenomenon was referred to as the “Weinstein effect“.

Weinstein was arrested in New York and charged with rape on May 25, 2018. His trial began on January 6, 2020, and he was also charged with rape in Los Angeles. On February 24, 2020, he was found guilty of two of five felonies in New York, charges which carry a sentence of up to 25 years. Today, on 11 March 2020 he was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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