Harvey Weinstein’s Fate To Be Decided Next Week
Harvey Weinstein's sentencing for sexual assault crimes will happen next week.
Harvey Weinstein’s fate will be decided next week after he was found guilty of several sexual assault crimes in December. His sentencing hearing, set by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench, will take place on January 9. The 70-year-old is already serving a 23-year prison term after a New York City jury found him guilty of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree, and third-degree rape in 2020.
The Oscar-winning producer now faces a further 18 years in jail from the LA County case, Deadline reports. The initial charges against Harvey Weinstein were reduced in November 2021. But he was found guilty of five counts of sexual assault and two counts of rape, committed from 2004 to 2013. The disgraced movie boss was later extradited to Los Angeles and has been serving his sentence at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility.
The Los Angeles trial has been difficult for the 12-person jury, who deliberated matters such as consent, morality, the infamous Hollywood casting couch, and power disparities for 10 days last month. The case centered on testimony from four women who chose to remain anonymous. Four others also testified that they were assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, but their claims didn’t lead to charges.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, prosecutors called 44 witnesses to the stand to make their case against Harvey Weinstein. The panel of eight men and four women was oddly quiet during the initial deliberation process, with no requests for clarification on the charges from Judge Lench or the lawyers. And when an alternate juror asked to be released due to family travel plans, the request was denied by the defendant’s legal team.
Then on December 7, the jury asked for a read-back of non-Jane Doe testimony. Paperwork released to the press did not reveal the nature of the questions about the Harvey Weinstein case. Additionally, Judge Lench did not alert the media to further requests or allow onlookers in her courtroom for the matter. On the tenth day of deliberations, there was another read-back for the jury, Deadline reports.
In closing arguments, Deputy D.A. Marlene Martinez referred to Harvey Weinstein as a “degenerate rapist.” She also detailed his sexual and psychological “reign of terror over women” for decades. Meanwhile, defense attorney Alan Jackson dismissed California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s potentially pivotal testimony as “a theatrical, overly dramatized performance.”
He also tried to convince the jury that the D.A.’s office failed to build a case against Harvey Weinstein beyond a reasonable doubt. “Take my word for it that it ever happened, or take my word for it I didn’t consent,” Jackson told the courtroom. Taking a swipe at the #MeToo movement, he added that the truth is immutable. “It’s not a feeling. It’s not a whim. It’s not a hashtag.”
The accusations against Harvey Weinstein came to light when he was at the apex of his Hollywood career. During his 40 years in the industry, the Oscar-winning producer helped launch the careers of multiple actors and actresses. But this is just one case. Anita Hill, who chairs The Hollywood Commission, says real progress toward safer workplaces requires acknowledging the practices and culture that tolerate abuse, discrimination, harassment, and bullying.