Gayle, Oprah, And Obama’s Friend Harvey Weinstein Sentenced To 23 Years In Prison

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Harvey Weinstein
Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison Wednesday morning. In this photo, Weinstein arrives for his rape trial, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison Wednesday morning. Supreme Court Judge James Burke gave the once powerful movie producer 20 years for his conviction of a first degree Criminal Sexual Act and three years for his second conviction of third-degree rape, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Weinstein was found guilty of the crimes on Feb. 25 after a litany of women accused him of using his money, means and influence to force them into non-consensual sexual encounters.

Though the accusations were numerous, Weinstein’s attacks on Miriam Haley in 2006 and aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013 led to his convictions. Haley accused Weinstein of forcibly performing oral sex on her, while Mann said he raped her in a Manhattan hotel room, reported CNBC.

Haley, Mann and others gave emotional testimonies before Weinstein was sentenced.

““He violated my trust and my body and my personal right to deny sexual advances … He had crushed a part of my spirit. If he was not convicted of rape & sexual assault by this jury it would have happened again & again. I’m relieved there are women who are safer because he is not out there,” Haley said.

Before his fall from grace, Weinstein was a mainstay in the circle of the rich and powerful. He once boasted among his circle of friends Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, Barack and Michelle Obama, and others. The Obama’s eldest daughter, Malia, even interned at Weinstein’s company before the scandal broke.

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Afterwards, the former president and first lady issued a joint statement condemning Weinstein’s actions and praising his accusers.

“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status,” the former President and First Lady said in a statement. “We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we all need to build a culture – including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect – so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.”

Six years shy of the maximum 29 years requested by prosecutors, Weinstein’s sentence could still amount to life in prison as the 67-year-old is reportedly in poor health, according to his attorney Donna Rotunno.

“Mr. Weinstein has a multitude of medical issues, there are lists of things that are physically wrong with him and are serious,” Rotunno said. “Mr. Weinstein has a history of heart disease in his family. This is a situation that the loss of freedom…will affect his ability to get the type of medical care he will need for the list of issues he is dealing with.”

CNBC said in a “long, rambling statement,” Weinstein expressed feeling regret for the women, whom he said he thought he had consensual relationships with.

“I really feel remorse for this situation. I feel it deeply in my heart. I’m really trying, I’m really trying to be a better person,” Weinstein told Burke when he addressed him. He also said “I think men are confused about these issues.”

However, Manhattan District Attorney (DA) Cyrus Vance Jr. said Weinstein preyed on his victims and tried to silence them.

“Harvey Weinstein deployed nothing less than an army of spies to keep them silent. But they refused to be silent, and they were heard. Their words took down a predator and put him behind bars, and gave hope to survivors of sexual violence all across the world,” Vance said.