Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein jailed for 23 years over rape conviction

Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in jail after he was found guilty of rape in the third degree in February.

A New York jury cleared the 67-year-old of a more serious charge of predatory sexual assault, which could have resulted in a life sentence.

Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers pleaded with Judge James Burke for leniency arguing he deserved mercy for his already "historic fall from grace" and serious health issues, as prosecutors sought a severe punishment for the disgraced movie mogul.

Speaking on the steps outside the New York court, Weinstein's lawyer Doanna Rotunno criticised the sentence handed down to her client.

  • Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Doanna Rotunno attacks the judge's ruling

She said: "That sentence that was just handed down from this court was obscene.

"That number was obnixious. There are murderers who will get out of jail faster than Harvey Weinstein. That number spoke to the pressure of movements and the public. That number did not speak to the evidence that came out at trial."

Ms Rotunno also criticised the judge, saying: "I think it was very clear that nothing we did or said today would have made a difference. I think it shows exactly what has been shown from the beginning is that Judge Burke was already prepared to say and do exactly what he was going to say and do no matter what we said today.

"I think it has shown a pattern in this case that Mr Weinstein never really had a fair shake from day one. I'm not here to say that he's a victim... but what I am here to say is we were looking for fairness and we didn't get it."

Gloria Allred, who represented some victims of Weinstein, held up a sign which read "this is what justice looks like" with "20+3 years" written on it - the length of sentence handed down to the former movie mogul.

She said: "This is what justice looks like. 20+3 years sentence handed down by Judge Burke this morning after compelling arguments by the prosecution and after arguments by the defence.

"And most importantly, after heartfelt victim impact statements."

Ms Allred questioned whether Mr Weinstein felt any remorse for his actions, describing his court statement as "rambling".

She added: "He had a right to make it. He indicated some remorse, whether it was heartfelt, whether it was remorse for having been convicted, or expecting being sentenced to prison, I don't know.

"But I'm really not concerned about Harvey Weinstein."

She also indicated that she would "see Mr Weinstein again" for another trial in Los Angeles, where he is facing similar charges made by other women.

  • 'This is what justice looks like' Prosecution lawyer Gloria Allred praises sentence

Mira Sorvino, who previously made allegations against Weinstein, tweeted: "23 years. Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for his crimes of rape and sexual assault.

"I literally cried tears of amazement, gratitude that the justice system has worked on behalf of all of his victims today."

Allegations around the former producer's conduct sparked the #MeToo campaign.

Actor Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein's earliest accusers, describing his guilty rape verdict as "extraordinary moment".

In addition to his conviction in New York, he is also facing charges in Los Angeles.

Following his sentencing, it is thought Weinstein will be taken to a jail in upstate New York, where he will have to shower with other inmates and be deloused before entering the prison system.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie were among the Hollywood stars to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment following a New York Times article that exposed allegations against him from former colleagues, including actor Ashley Judd.

The floods of reports about Weinstein’s alleged abuse, and the alleged abuse by a number of other high-profile men in the industry sparked the #MeToo movement by actor Alyssa Milano giving women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted a platform to come forward and “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”.