Disgraced Movie Mogul Harvey Weinstein Sentenced To 23 Years In Prison

Mar 12, 2020
Originally published on March 12, 2020 8:17 am
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Harvey Weinstein was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in New York last night. A spokesperson told NPR it was for ongoing heart problems and a complication related to his back surgery. Just hours earlier, a New York judge sentenced him to 23 years for a rape and a criminal sexual act against two different women. It was a stunning fall for a man who had once been a powerhouse in Hollywood. NPR's Rose Friedman was in the courthouse for the sentencing. Just a warning here, this piece does contain some discussion of sexual violence.

ROSE FRIEDMAN, BYLINE: Judge James Burke handed down close to the maximum sentence for Weinstein, telling the courthouse, quote, "there is evidence before me of other incidents of sexual assault involving a number of women, all of which are legitimate considerations for sentence." Six women sat in the front row facing the judge, six women who had testified that Weinstein had raped or assaulted them.

He violated, quote, "my trust, my body and my basic right to reject his sexual advances," said Miriam Haley. Weinstein will now be in jail in New York before going to a state prison. He's also awaiting extradition to Los Angeles, where he faces four more charges from two different women. Bennett Gershman is a law professor at Pace University.

BENNETT GERSHMAN: What typically happens with extradition is the state that is seeking to have the defendant extradited makes a request. It's a cooperative effort.

FRIEDMAN: Weinstein's legal team could challenge his extradition in court, but Gershman says there are reasons why many defendants don't do that. They don't want to cause trouble with the new jurisdiction - in this case, Los Angeles.

GERSHMAN: Rather than challenging and, you know, interfering and causing a lot of, you know, disturbance with the other system, they may feel that they get a better - you know, they're treated better.

FRIEDMAN: And while that's going on, Weinstein's New York legal team says they'll appeal his conviction. After the sentencing, Attorney Donna Rotunno spoke to reporters on the courthouse steps. She listed some of the reasons she sees for an appeal.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONNA ROTUNNO: You know, I think from the very beginning of this case - from the ruling on the Molineux witnesses, I think the way that the jury was selected, the fact that we asked to question people individually, discovery violations, Sandoval, juror No. 11, extreme sentences - so we can go on and on.

FRIEDMAN: Throughout the proceedings, Weinstein's defense team said they did not think he was getting a fair trial and called for a mistrial many times. After the sentencing, many of Weinstein's accusers expressed their satisfaction with the outcome.

Rose Friedman, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.