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Ex-producer Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 16 years in L.A. rape case

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Ex-film mogul Harvey Weinstein begged for leniency in a Los Angeles court moments before he was given an additional 16 years in prison for rape.

He was convicted of attacking an actress in a hotel room during a film festival in the city in February 2013.

“Please don’t sentence me to life in prison,” the disgraced Hollywood star told the court. “I don’t deserve it.”

More than 80 people have made rape and misconduct claims about Weinstein dating back as far as the late 1970s.

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The 70-year-old is already serving a 23-year prison sentence for a separate conviction in New York.

Before Thursday’s sentencing, Weinstein maintained he was innocent and the victim of a “set-up”.

On 19 December, a Los Angeles jury convicted him of one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault involving an actress.

The victim, known as Jane Doe 1 to protect her anonymity, spoke in court before the sentence was read.

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She recounted the trauma she had endured for “many years” since the assault.

“Before that night I was a very happy and confident woman,” she said.

READ ALSO: Harvey Weinstein found guilty of rape in Los Angeles trial

“Everything changed after the defendant brutally assaulted me. There is no prison sentence long enough to undo the damage.”

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Weinstein, meanwhile, told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench he did not know the victim.

“I never raped or sexually assaulted Jane Doe 1,” he said.

He told the court there were “so many things wrong” with the case and too many “loopholes”.

Weinstein called his accuser an “actress with the ability turn on her tears”.

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His attorneys – who had sought a three-year sentence for Weinstein – asked the judge to take into account his deteriorating health, his children and his “generous” donations to charity.

Weinstein sat in court looking away for most of the time and did not react when the sentence was read, which came after the judge rejected a motion by defence lawyers for a new trial.

He was acquitted during the same Los Angeles trial of sexual battery against another accuser.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on three other sexual assault counts, including one involving Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom. A mistrial was declared.

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He is thought likely to appeal against the sentence.

The Oscar-winning movie producer had been facing up to 18 years in prison in the Los Angeles case.

He avoided a sentence of up to 24 years after a jury was unable to agree on whether Weinstein had planned the rape or whether the victim was “particularly vulnerable”.

How the Weinstein scandal has unfolded

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In 2020, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault against a production assistant in 2006 and an aspiring actress in 2013. He has appealed.

The conviction was seen as a milestone in the #MeToo movement, which had shone a light on rampant sexual abuse and harassment in the film and television industry.

SOURCE: BBC

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