What to Know
- Just over a year after he was found guilty of rape and sentenced to 23 years in jail, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein filed an appeal Monday seeking to overturn the verdict, NBC News reports.
- Weinstein attorney Arthur Aidala says Weinstein did not receive a fair trial and the trial judge disregarded well accepted principles of New York law violating Weinstein’s constitutional rights.
- Last year, Harvey Weinstein began serving his 23-year prison sentence after a New York jury, comprised of five women and seven men, convicted him for the rape and sexual assault of two women.
Just over a year after he was found guilty of rape and sentenced to 23 years in jail, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein filed an appeal Monday seeking to overturn the verdict, NBC News reports.
Weinstein attorney Arthur Aidala says Weinstein did not receive a fair trial and the trial judge disregarded well accepted principles of New York law violating his constitutional rights.
Last year, Weinstein began serving his 23-year prison sentence after a New York jury, comprised of five women and seven men, convicted him for the rape and sexual assault of two women. The jury found the 68-year-old movie producer guilty of raping aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on TV and film production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006.
Douglas Wigdor, founding partner of Wigdor LLP who represents seven Harvey Weinstein victims including Tarale Wulff who testified at the criminal trial, called the appeal "desperate."
“Harvey Weinstein’s criminal appeal is a desperate attempt to undo a fair trial overseen by Judge Burke and the findings of a well-reasoned and thoughtful jury, Wigdor said in a statement. "We are confident the appeal will not alter his conviction and sentence.”
Overall, Weinstein was sentenced to 20 years in prison and five years post-release supervision for criminal sex act in the first degree as well as three years in prison and five years post-release supervision for rape in the third degree. They will be served consecutively.
Reactions were strong and swift following his sentencing.
In a statement, the Silence Breakers, a group of women who came forward to report Weinstein's sexual misconduct, said in part: "Harvey Weinstein's legacy will always be that he's a convicted rapist. He is going to jail -- but no amount of jail time will repair the lives he ruined, the careers he destroyed, or the damage he has caused."
Additionally, the Time's Up Foundation, an organization that addresses systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace, said in part: "We remain in solidarity with the more than 100 survivors who suffered abuse, harassment, and rape at the hands of Harvey Weinstein. The trauma of sexual assault and harassment is lifelong -- we can only hope that today’s sentence brings all of the survivors of Harvey Weinstein some measure of peace."
Weinstein, who has maintained that any sexual activity was consensual, also spoke during his sentencing, saying he had fond memories of his accusers.
Looking back during the trial at emails they exchanged, he said, he thought they had a good friendship: "I'm not going to say these aren't great people. I had wonderful times with these people. I'm just genuinely confused. Men are confused about this issue."
He declined to testify during trial but did address the court during his sentencing, saying he was a victim of the #MeToo movement.
Mann and Haleyi not only testified during trial, but again got the chance to confront Weinstein in court and give victim impact statements at his sentencing. Haleyi described how Weinstein allegedly took advantage of her job desperation; she says he attacked her, she felt trapped, embarrassed and thought she was alone.
"I didn't realize the extent," Haleyi said. "I'm relieved he now knows he's not above the law ... I let it all go and I showed up. In that way, there has been healing ... I just only hope the sentence is long enough for Harvey Weinstein to acknowledge what he's done and to be truly sorry."
For her part, Mann said she left much unsaid about the abuse she suffered -- and the far-reaching impacts of it.
"I wish I would have been able to fight him when he raped me. I would have walked away with strength instead of shame," she said. "My rape was preventable. This was a known offender ... It's a recurring nightmare -- there are good days and bad days and I try to hide it the best I can."
Mann added: "I'm not here to give any more power over to the man who stole my body."
Weinstein's attorneys pleaded for a lighter sentence of five years, citing his lack of criminal history and underlying health issues.
Addressing Weinstein at sentencing, Judge James Burke told him that although it is his first conviction it was not his first offense, adding that there is evidence of other incidents of sexual assault with other women.
Burke then said Weinstein must register as a sex offender.
Weinstein also faces rape, forcible oral copulation and other charges in California after five women said they were attacked during events in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills from 2004 to 2013.