Harvey Weinstein Makes Final Plea at Sentencing: ‘This Is a Setup

Harvey Weinstein made a final plea to the court on Thursday, just before a judge sentenced him to 16 years in prison.

“I maintain that I’m innocent,” he said. “I never raped or sexually assaulted Jane Doe 1. I never knew this woman, and the fact is she doesn’t know me. This is about money and coming after me.”

Weinstein did not stand up to address the court, noting that he has a spinal condition. From his chair, he took aim at a “cottage industry of lawyers” who “put victims on the stand” and then file civil suits.

“I did not rape this woman. I did not see this woman. She perjured herself,” Weinstein said. “This is a made-up story. With all due respect, Jane Doe 1 is an actress and can turn on the tears.” 

Weinstein also said that he does not intend to cause harm and is “here to bring joy.” He said he spent a lot of years bringing people happiness.

“Please don’t sentence me to life in prison,” he said. “I don’t deserve it. There are so many things that are wrong with this case. There is no evidence.”

Weinstein also noted that a couple of jurors had shown up to sentencing, which he said “says a lot.” The defense had argued that the jurors would not have voted to convict if they had been given the full facts.

“There are too many loopholes,” he said. “Too many things wrong with this case. This isn’t true… I wasn’t there. This is a setup. This is not the way to act in this situation. I beg your mercy.”

Weinstein was found guilty on three counts of rape and sexual assault by a Los Angeles jury in December. He is already serving a 23-year sentence, after being convicted of rape and sexual assault in 2020 in New York. He has maintained his innocence in that case as well, which is on appeal to the state’s highest court.

Prosecutors argued that Weinstein was a predator who used his power to lure and attack women in hotel rooms under the guise of a business meeting or audition. His defense argued that women willingly engaged in “transactional sex” because Weinstein was influential in the entertainment industry. Each of Weinstein’s legal teams have stated that he unjustly became the face of the #MeToo movement after his downfall in 2017.

Weinstein’s L.A. attorneys, Mark Werksman and Alan Jackson, had requested a new trial, arguing that information was withheld from the jury that would have impeached Jane Doe #1’s credibility. The judge shot down that request on Thursday morning, before Weinstein made his final plea.

The jurors rendered a split verdict after deliberating for 10 days in December. They acquitted him of one charge, and were deadlocked on three others, though they voted toward a conviction on each of those three counts.

After he was convicted in L.A., a spokesperson for Weinstein said he was “disappointed” in the verdict, but pledged to “prove his innocence,” alluding to an appeal in the future.

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