Weinstein faces sentencing in LA rape case
Harvey Weinstein AFP / Johannes EISELE

Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein faces up to 18 years in prison when he is sentenced Monday in Los Angeles for raping a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel a decade ago.

The Oscar-winning former producer, 70, is already serving a 23-year sentence on his 2020 conviction in New York for sex crimes.

A second long sentence increases the likelihood that the producer of acclaimed films like "Shakespeare in Love," "Pulp Fiction," "Scream" and "Gangs of New York," will spend the rest of his life in prison even as he appeals both cases.

In the Los Angeles case, he was convicted on December 19 for forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by a foreign object of a woman whose name was withheld from court and only identified as "Jane Doe #1."

A weeks-long trial heard graphic descriptions of encounters between the once-powerful producer and women who were trying to make their way in the world of movies.

Prosecutors painted a picture of a predatory ogre, who for years used his professional status to rape and abuse women with impunity.

His victims were left terrorized and afraid for their careers if they spoke out against a man who dominated Tinseltown, prosecutors said.

While he was convicted in the Los Angeles case of assaulting one woman, the jury acquitted him of sexual battery involving a second.

They did not reach a verdict on charges relating to the alleged assaults of two other women, one of whom was identified by her lawyers as former actress/filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Weinstein planned to appeal the case.

"Harvey is obviously disappointed in the verdict. He knows what happened and what never did," his spokesperson, Juda Engelmayer, said after the conviction.

"The account of Jane Doe #1 has a strong legal basis for an appeal, as the logistics of the time and location of the alleged incident make no sense," said Engelmayer.

In New York last June, Weinstein lost his first appeal of his verdict and sentence in the state's intermediate appellate court.

But he has further appealed to the higher New York Court of Appeals.

Rumors of Weinstein's impropriety had circulated in Hollywood for years, but his position at the apex of the industry meant few were prepared to challenge him.

That all changed in 2017 with the publication of bombshell allegations against him, ushering in the #MeToo movement and opening the floodgates for women to speak out against sexual violence in the workplace.

Dozens of women have since alleged they fell victim to Weinstein's predatory behavior.

© 2023 AFP