Mar 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison

This image is a close-up of Harvey Weinstein as he gets out of a car
Harvey Weinstein enters a Manhattan court house on Feb. 24. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday.

The backdrop: Weinstein was found guilty of third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sexual act last month and acquitted of predatory sexual assault.

  • Weinstein's lawyers had previously asked for a five-year sentence due to his health and age.
  • His sentencing comes five years after the Manhattan district attorney first declined to prosecute him when an Italian model said he groped her during a business meeting.

The big picture: The #MeToo movement — which galvanized support for alleged victims of sexual misconduct and caused at least 201 powerful men to lose jobs or major positions — gained traction after allegations against Weinstein came to light in 2017.

  • It took decades for Weinstein to face any accountability, and if not for the overwhelming number of accusers, it's hard to believe he would have faced criminal charges.
  • At least 90 women have accused Weinstein of misconduct, but the criminal charges he eventually faced in New York involved only two victims.

The bottom line: It wasn't the legal system that did the job and ended what was reportedly an open secret in Hollywood.

  • It was the result of accusers risking a great deal to come forward and powerful reporting by the NY Times and New Yorker, which stood by their reporters in printing the stories in the face of Weinstein's legal threats.

What's next: Weinstein still faces four felony charges of rape and sexual battery in Los Angeles. If convicted on all counts, he could get an additional prison sentence of up to 28 years.

Go deeper: Global #MeToo movement has resulted in 7 convictions, 4 charges of influential figures

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