Harvey Weinstein's sentencing hearing began at 9:30am ET Wednesday in New York, and within just about 90 minutes the disgraced movie mogul had been sentenced to 23 years in prison. He had faced between five and 29 years—the higher end of which, NBC New York noted before the hearing began, could amount to the equivalent of a life sentence for the 67-year-old. In fact, one of his attorneys said at the hearing that even "five years in upstate New York is a miserable, horrible existence for a man who had not been in trouble before. It's basically the death penalty." More on the day's developments:
- Tuesday night: His spokesperson had described Weinstein as "despondent" on the eve of his sentencing, per ABC News. He was "not doing well," Juda Engelmayer said. "He's looking at the rest of his life and feeling dejected and despondent." He also said that while many of Weinstein's friends offered to write letters to the judge supporting the fallen producer, none of them were willing to put their names on the letters.
- Wednesday morning: CNN reports Weinstein arrived at court in a wheelchair and that the six women who testified against him at his trial, including the two he was convicted of sexually assaulting, Mimi Haleyi and Jessica Mann, arrived with prosecutors and were seated in the front row. Mann and Haleyi were applauded as they walked through the hallway into court. After the sentence, all the accusers were applauded as they exited, with some onlookers chanting, "Justice!"
- Prosecution before: "He is the devil," said the lead prosecutor, who thanked the women for testifying. "He has been using and abusing people his whole life. You sentence this defendant to the max or near the max."
- Prosecution after: "We thank the court for imposing a sentence that puts sexual predators and abusive partners in all segments of society on notice," the DA said in a statement.
- Defense before: Weinstein's team, meanwhile, argued in a letter sent to the judge that Weinstein's fall from grace is its own form of punishment and he should be sentenced to the minimum.
- Defense after: One of Weinstein's lawyers, per ABC, called the sentence "obscene" and the number of years "obnoxious," blaming it on "the pressure of movements and the public" rather than the actual evidence.
- Victims: In her victim impact statement, Haleyi said, "I just only hope the sentence is long enough for Harvey Weinstein to acknowledge what he's done and to be truly sorry." Mann said, "My rape was preventable. This was a known offender."
- Weinstein himself: Per TMZ and the Hollywood Reporter, he addressed his accusers before he was sentenced, saying, "I have great remorse for all of you. I have great remorse for all women" but adding that he was also "totally confused" and that he had considered the women friends. "I think men are confused about all of this ... this feeling of thousands of men and women who are losing due process, I'm worried about this country. This is not the right atmosphere in the United States of America." He apologized for being unfaithful to his ex-wives and said he should have cared more about his family than his films. "I really feel remorse for this situation. I feel it deeply in my heart." CNN says his address was "unexpected."
- Judge: Per correspondent Elie Mystal, in handing down the sentence the judge told Weinstein, "This is your first conviction, but not your first offense."
- Reporter's reaction: Jodi Kantor, one of the New York Times journalists who broke the story, tweeted, "23 years for Harvey Weinstein. [Megan Twohey, the other reporter who broke the story] and I just witnessed it for ourselves. Weinstein was cuffed to his wheelchair then rolled away. The women who testified sobbed afterwards. Irwin Reiter, his accountant of 30 yrs who secretly helped us break the story, sat just behind."
- Sentencing specifics: Weinstein got 20 years behind bars and five years post-release supervision for criminal sex act in the first degree, plus three years behind bars and five years post-release supervision for rape in the third degree, to be served consecutively. The judge could have ruled that they be served concurrently.
- What's next: NBC NY also noted before the hearing that Weinstein's defense team planned to immediately file a motion for bail pending appeal. Weinstein also faces separate sex assault charges in California, and it's not clear whether authorities in that state might attempt to get him extradited for arraignment.
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