Saturday, April 13, 2024

Former Movie Mogul Harvey Weinstein Sentenced to 23 Years for Attacks on 2 Women, Will Appeal Ruling


Former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was sentenced today to 23 years in prison for attacks on 2 women.

Judge James Burke sentenced Weinstein to 20 years in prison for first-degree criminal sexual act, plus five years of supervised release. On the other convicted charge of third-degree rape, he was given three years in prison. The judge made the sentences consecutive, rather than concurrent.

Weinstein will appeal, but it does seem that the judge’s objective was to see him die in prison. At 68 years old, Weinstein will never leave the New York state prison system except to stand trial in Los Angeles. There’s a possibility that he could face charges abroad, as well.

Weinstein spoke for the first time in court, in front of the six women who testified against him. He asked for mercy but didn’t seem to understand the gravity of what’s happened. Except for possibly one friend, no one wrote letters to Judge Burke on behalf of Weinstein. My understanding was that anyone who might have supported him was too scared of the cancel culture and the #Metoo movement to come to Weinstein’s defense.

One person whose name has turned up in emails that surfaced in the case is Bob Weinstein, Harvey’s brother. In October 2017, after the New York Times and the New Yorker exposed many of Harvey’s crimes, his brother sent him scathing emails denouncing him. I have to laugh at this: there are few people in the world as duplicitous and underhanded as Bob Weinstein. He may not have physically raped anyone, but the damage he did to artists was severe. There’s no sympathy for him.

In another group of emails that surfaced there was an exchange concerning former Page Six gossip writer A.J. Benza. In a meeting in the fall of 2017 he suggested to Harvey that Weinstein might have been abused as a child. Weinstein’s ultimate response was that something might have happened, to be discussed at a later date. This was the most telling and most ignored bit of information in this story so far. It will be surely be explored further.

This is a tragic and stunning fall from power and position, maybe the worst ever or at least worst ever including the public denouncement of Bill Cosby. History cannot be unwritten. Weinstein may have been a horror to women, but he operated as a Jekyll and Hyde. His enormous contribution to movie history stands regardless. The disconnect between the two sides of his personality is stunning. Again, further to be explored.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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