© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 04 October 2022. Harvey Weinstein was extradited from New York to Los Angeles to face sex-related cha
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Harvey Weinstein, the onetime Hollywood titan who came to epitomize a culture of pervasive sexual misconduct by powerful men that ignited the #MeToo movement, is to be sentenced on Thursday for the 2013 rape of an actress in Los Angeles.
Prosecutors have recommended Weinstein, 70, receive the maximum penalty of 24 years in prison, with no eligibility for parole, after a Los Angeles trial jury found him guilty of rape and two other felony charges of sexual abuse in December.
Whatever sentence is pronounced should be served once the former movie producer and Miramax co-founder has completed the 23-year sentence imposed for a sexual misconduct conviction in New York, prosecutors argued in their sentencing memorandum.
They said a “high-term” penalty of 24 years was called for because of the prior conviction, rather than a “mid-term” sentence of 18 years that California law would otherwise prescribe, absent additional “aggravating” factors.
Weinstein’s team opposes the district attorney’s recommendation for a high-term, consecutive sentence, given Weinstein’s “advanced age and deteriorating health,” defense lawyer Mark Werksman told Reuters in an email.
The team’s sentencing brief was filed under seal because it contains references to confidential medical information, Werksman said.
Weinstein was convicted of rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by a foreign object stemming from an assault on a former model and actress, identified in court as Jane Doe 1, at a Los Angeles hotel in February 2013.
The jury acquitted Weinstein of charges relating to a second alleged victim and failed to reach a unanimous verdict on charges arising from two other accusers. One of them, documentary filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, now the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, has disclosed she was the alleged rape victim referred to in court records as Jane Doe 4.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench declared a mistrial on the deadlocked charges.
Weinstein has said all of his sexual encounters were consensual and pleaded not guilty.
Defense attorneys argued that the women willingly had sex with Weinstein because they believed he would advance their careers, part of what they said was a widespread “casting couch” culture in the film industry. In two of the cases, they said the alleged sexual contact was fabricated.
The producer of “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love” was convicted of sexual misconduct in New York in February 2020, and extradited from New York to a Los Angeles prison in July 2021.
In New York, Weinstein is appealing his conviction andprison sentence.
Allegations against Weinstein helped fuel the #MeToomovement of women speaking out against sexual harassment and abuse by powerful men in media, politics and other endeavors, as well as a culture of silence that has long allowed such conduct to go unchallenged.