(NEW YORK) — Harvey Weinstein should be sent to prison for no more than five years, defense attorneys said in a letter to the judge ahead of sentencing scheduled for Wednesday.
The disgraced former Hollywood producer was convicted of two felony counts — criminal sexual assault and third-degree rape — for attacking former production assistant Mimi Haley in 2006 third-degree rape of aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013. He was acquitted of three additional counts — two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape.
The defense said Weinstein’s age, health and life of charity are among the factors that argue for a lesser sentence. Weinstein, 67, who was convicted on Feb. 24, was moved from Bellevue Hospital Center in New York to Rikers Island correctional facility last week after undergoing a procedure to insert a stent in his heart. He had been using a walker throughout the trial and was being held in a prison ward at Bellevue after complaining of chest pains.
“As an individual with no criminal history having spent no time previously incarcerated, his health concerns, his age, and as famous as he is, a custodial sentence will no doubt prove much more difficult for Mr. Weinstein than most other inmates, which further counsels in favor of a sentence of five years’ imprisonment,” defense attorneys Damon Cheronis, Donna Rotunno and Arthur Aidala wrote in their letter to Judge James Burke.
“With respect to deterrence, counsel will again note that Mr. Weinstein is a first-time offender,” the attorneys wrote.
The sexual assault charge carries a maximum of 25 years in prison. He could receive up to four years in prison for the rape conviction.
Prosecutors have said Weinstein deserves a “lengthy” prison sentence. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office did not recommend a specific sentence but said it is “totally appropriate” to show through the court’s sentence “that sexual assault, even if perpetrated upon an acquaintance or in a professional setting, is a serious offense worthy of a lengthy prison sentence,” according to a letter to the same judge filed by prosecutors last Friday.
The DA’s submission details what the prosecutor’s office claims are several decades’ worth of alleged misconduct by Weinstein beyond what was prosecuted in court.
The defense attorneys responded in their letter that those additional accusations by prosecutors, “many of which are not even sexual in nature (e.g. “abusive behavior in the workplace”) and the vast majority of which have nothing to do with [Mimi] Haley or Jessica Mann — in no way constitute relevant conduct.”
The prosecution filing notes the complaining witnesses, Jessica Mann and Mimi Haley, will submit statements to the court.
ABC News does not normally name victims of sexual assault, but both women have either publicly identified themselves or agreed to allow their names to be used.
Following the verdict, Weinstein’s attorneys said in a statement they will be filing an appeal, claiming there were “extremely troubling issues” with the trial.
While appealing his New York conviction, Weinstein will also be preparing to defend himself against four felony sexual assault charges filed earlier this year by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. In that case, Weinstein is charged with attacking two women in separate incidents over a two-day period in Feb. 2013. He has not yet entered a plea in that case. Weinstein claims any sexual encounters were consensual.
If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault and is seeking resources, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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