Harvey Weinstein must be set on his sentence for rape in Los Angeles
He risks ending his life in prison: Disgraced ex-Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to be sentenced on Thursday, after his conviction for rape and sexual assault on a European model during his recent trial in Los Angeles.
For these acts committed in a Beverly Hills hotel in 2013, the 70-year-old former “king” of cinema, producer of award-winning hits like “Pulp Fiction”, faces up to 18 years in prison.
He thus risks ending his days behind bars, because he is already serving a 23-year prison sentence after his conviction in New York in 2020 for similar facts and which he appealed.
M . Weinstein wants to appeal his conviction in Los Angeles and his defense is due to present arguments on Thursday to seek a new trial. If their request is rejected, Judge Lisa Lench warned that she would set a sentence in stride.
This second trial for Mr. Weinstein, whose fall in 2017 freed the speech of many women and spawned the #MeToo movement, saw four women testify anonymously against him.
For several weeks of a bitter and trying hearing, sometimes interrupted by sobbing plaintiffs, they accused the former Hollywood titan of forcing them to have sex in hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles between 2004 and 2013.
The prosecution had painted Mr. Weinstein as an all-powerful ogre, a “predator” whose stranglehold on Hollywood — the films he produced have received more than 330 Oscar nominations and 81 statuettes — has long kept his victims from to speak, for fear of repercussions on their careers.
His lawyers have worked to cast doubt on the word of the four complainants, highlighting in particular the absence of forensic elements to support their stories.
The trial ended with a split verdict. Jurors found Mr. Weinstein guilty of all charges brought by the European model.
They however found him not guilty on those of a second woman, and did not formulate a verdict concerning the allegations made by the other two.
After the criminal conviction of the ex-producer, the model recognized as a victim at the end of the trial filed a complaint in early February in a Los Angeles court , in order to obtain civil damages.
Consulted by AFP, this complaint does not specify the amount claimed. She insists on the “physical and mental suffering” caused by the rape and the sexual assaults suffered.
In 2021, a civil agreement had awarded 17 million dollars to several dozen women accusing the former producer , but this woman was not one of them.
Rumors about Mr. Weinstein's behavior have been circulating for years in Hollywood. The scandal finally broke in 2017, thanks to press investigations compiling multiple accusations, which sparked the #MeToo movement.
Since then, nearly 90 women, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosanna Arquette , accused Harvey Weinstein of harassment, sexual assault or rape.
But the statute of limitations has been exceeded in many of these cases, some of which date back to 1977.
In addition to his legal setbacks in the United States, the ex-producer is also charged in the United Kingdom for sexual assaults which date back to 1996.