Mar 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison

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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Harvey Weinstein lawyers ask for a five-year prison sentence

Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

Lawyers for disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein are asking a New York court to consider a five-year sentence for their client due to his health and age, Reuters reports.

Backdrop: Weinstein, 67, faces up to 29 years in prison after a Manhattan jury found him guilty of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. Allegations that Weinstein sexually assaulted and harassed women in Hollywood came to light nearly three years ago and helped spark the global #MeToo movement. He still faces charges of sexual assault in Los Angeles.

Go deeper: Harvey Weinstein convicted in rape trial

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

Bill Cosby, Harvein Weinstein, and Larry Nassar. Photos: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images, Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images, and Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

Hundreds of powerful people — predominately men — have been accused of sexual offenses since the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017. After film producer Harvey Weinstein's conviction, four of them face charges, while seven have been convicted.

Why it matters: The #MeToo movement focused global attention on previously unchecked sexual misconduct, leading at least 201 powerful men to lose jobs or major positions. But the movement, dubbed a global reckoning, has had few legal consequences for the accused. Here are some of the most notable cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 11, 2020 - Economy & Business

Untested rape kits leave thousands of serial rapists at large

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A recent push by lawmakers and activists to test sexual assault kits, or rape kits, for DNA matches led to the introduction of 105 state bills and the enactment of 28 new laws in 2019 to provide funding and resources to test the kits, according to the nonprofit End the Backlog.

Why it matters: The rape kits are often the only physical evidence in a court case, and processing them has led to the arrest of hundreds of sexual assault offenders across the country.