Weinstein’s prison sentence should reflect ‘lifetime of abuse’: prosecutors

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein should get a prison sentence that reflects not only his conviction for sexually assaulting two women, but a “lifetime of abuse towards others,” New York prosecutors said in a court filing on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court for another day of jury deliberations in his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Throughout his adult life, Weinstein has shown a “staggering lack of empathy, treating others with disdain and inhumanity,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office said in a letter to Justice James Burke, who is scheduled to sentence Weinstein on Wednesday.

“He has consistently advanced his own sordid desires and fixations over the well-being of others,” prosecutors wrote. “He has destroyed people’s lives and livelihoods or threatened to do so on whim.”

Prosecutors did not recommend a specific sentence in the filing for Weinstein, who faces a maximum sentence of 29 years in prison.

Donna Rotunno, a lawyer for Weinstein had no immediate comment.

On Feb. 24, a jury found the former movie mogul guilty of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and of raping onetime aspiring actress Jessica Mann.

Haleyi testified that Weinstein forced oral sex on her in his home in 2006, while Mann testified that he raped her in March 2013, early in an “extremely degrading” relationship she had with him.

The jury of seven men and five women acquitted Weinstein on the most serious charges, which carried a potential life sentence.

Prosecutors called four additional women to testify, including actress Annabella Sciorra, portraying Weinstein as a serial predator who had manipulated women with promises to open doors in Hollywood, coaxing them to hotel rooms or private apartments, and then overpowering and violently attacking them.

More than 80 women, including famous actresses, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct stretching back decades, fueling the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment. He denied the accusations and said any sexual encounters were consensual.

Throughout the case, the defense said regret drove the accusers to take consensual incidents and reframe them as crimes. Weinstein’s lawyers zeroed in on friendly messages and ongoing contact between the women and Weinstein.

Weinstein still faces sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, which were announced just hours after his New York trial began on Jan. 6. Dozens of women have also filed civil lawsuits against him.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Jonathan Oatis

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