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Sunday, June 2, 2024

Weinstein to be sentenced in LA rape case

The Academy Award-winning producer, 70, is already serving a 23-year sentence for his separate 2020 conviction in New York for sex crimes.

Disgraced movie industry tycoon Harvey Weinstein is due to be sentenced Thursday over the rape of a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel room a decade ago.

The Academy Award-winning producer, 70, is already serving a 23-year sentence for his separate 2020 conviction in New York for sex crimes.

He could face a further 18-year term in California, which would increase the likelihood that the “Shakespeare in Love” mogul will see out the remainder of his life in prison — though he is appealing in both cases.

Read more: Harvey Weinstein guilty of Hollywood rape, jury finds

In December, he was convicted by a Los Angeles jury of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by a foreign object of a European actress whose identity was not revealed.

The court heard explicit accounts of meetings between the previously influential movie producer and several young women who were attempting to find a foothold in Hollywood.

Prosecutors said Weinstein exploited and abused women for years, and long enjoyed impunity because of his then-powerful position in the industry.

The women would have risked losing their future Hollywood job prospects if they had publicly accused Weinstein at the time, prosecutors said.

Weinstein was ultimately convicted in the Los Angeles case of assaulting one woman, but acquitted of sexual battery involving a second.

The jury did not reach a verdict on charges relating to the alleged assaults of two other women, one of whom was identified by her lawyers as Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the now-wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Thursday’s court session will begin with a hearing on a defense motion requesting either a new trial or a reduced verdict.

Read more: Harvey Weinstein to spend rest of his life behind bars for raping assistant

Defense court filings seen by AFP allege that Weinstein’s lawyers were precluded from admitting important evidence about the rape victim — including Facebook messages with an alleged lover which the judge deemed irrelevant — and that their cross-examination was limited.

If the motion is denied, Judge Lisa Lench has said that sentencing will take place that same day.

Weinstein is appealing the Los Angeles verdict.

In New York last June, Weinstein lost his first appeal against his criminal verdict and sentence in the state’s intermediate appellate court.

But he has also further appealed that case to the higher New York Court of Appeals.

– #MeToo –

Weinstein’s behavior had been the topic of rumors in entertainment circles for years, but his powerful status in Hollywood ensured few were willing to publicly call him out.

But bombshell allegations broke against him in 2017, launching the #MeToo movement and paving the way for hundreds of women to fight back against sexual violence in the workplace.

Dozens of women have now accused Weinstein of predatory behavior.

After his conviction in New York, a civil trial awarded $17 million to dozens of other women who had accused the former movie magnate of abuse.

Earlier this month, the European actress who Weinstein was convicted of raping in Los Angeles also sued him for damages.

The civil case alleges sexual battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

“The conduct of Defendant Weinstein was despicable, and done with malice, oppression and fraud, thus justifying an award of punitive damages against him,” her lawsuit says.