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Harvey Weinstein will be sentenced today - he could face 29 years in prison

Last month, the disgraced Hollywood mogul was convicted of sexual assault and rape.

Harvey Weinstein entering the State Supreme Court in New York last month.
Harvey Weinstein entering the State Supreme Court in New York last month.
Image: Louis Lanzano/SIPA USA/PA Images

HARVEY WEINSTEIN WILL be sentenced today for his New York rape conviction. 

The sentencing may bring an end to one of the most high-profile criminal prosecutions in years, as Weinstein – once one of the most powerful men in the film business – will learn how long he will spend behind bars. 

Last month, the disgraced Hollywood mogul was convicted of sexual assault and rape. 

He was found guilty of third degree rape in the case of Jessica Mann, 34, who said Weinstein raped her in March 2013. He was found guilty of first degree sexual assault in the case of Mimi Haleyi, who alleged he forcibly performed oral sex on her in July 2006.

After his February 24 conviction, he was sent to Bellevue Hospital amid concerns about high blood pressure and heart palpitations for more than a week before being transferred late last week to an infirmary at the notorious Rikers Island jail complex.

Rikers is one of America’s most high-profile prisons and has incarcerated celebrities including Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, rapper Tupac Shakur and former International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The sprawling complex, known for regular violent incidents against inmates and guards, is due to close by 2026.

Sentence

The court will convene at 9.30 am today (1.30 pm Irish time) and soon after the sentence will be handed down. 

On the criminal sex act count, Weinstein faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 25 years, while the third-degree rape count carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison – meaning Weinstein could face 29 years in prison. 

The case, and subsequently Weinstein’s conviction, has been seen as a flashpoint in the #MeToo movement and has caused ripples well beyond Hollywood.

In the UK, earlier this week, a former Scottish government official who has accused former first minister Alex Salmond of sexual assault said she suffered flashbacks following the Harvey Weinstein case.

More generally, the story sparked a conversation about the mistreatment of women by powerful men. 

Letter

In a letter filed in advance of Weinstein’s sentencing today for his New York City rape conviction, his defence team asked Judge James Burke to give him to only five years behind bars — far from the potential 29-year maximum term.

A man who was once admired for putting part of his fortune into charitable causes during his rise to one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers now “cannot walk outside without being heckled”, the papers say.

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“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.”

Even if the 67-year-old is given a lesser term, “the grave reality is that Mr Weinstein may not even outlive that term” making it “a de facto life sentence,” the papers say.

His legal team has already promised an appeal, suggesting that the saga may not yet be over. 

With reporting from Dominic McGrath and AFP

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