Days before Harvey Weinstein’s sentencing for the rape and sexual assault of two women, Manhattan prosecutors urged a judge to give the disgraced producer a substantial amount of time behind bars so he can reflect on the lives he’s destroyed over the last four decades.
“Starting in the 1970s, he has trapped women into his exclusive control and assaulted or attempted to assault them,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi argued in the sentencing memo to Justice James Burke. “These acts, viewed in their totality, establish that throughout his entire adult professional life, the defendant has displayed a staggering lack of empathy, treating others with disdain and inhumanity.”
Weinstein, 67, was convicted last month of first-degree criminal sex act for the assault of former Project Runway production assistant Miriam Haleyi inside his SoHo apartment in 2006 and third-degree rape for the assault of former actress Jessica Mann. He was cleared of first-degree rape and the most serious charges against him, two counts of predatory sexual assault, which carried with them the possibility of life in prison.
He now faces a minimum of five years and up to 25 years in prison when sentenced on March 11.
“He has consistently advanced his own sordid desires and fixations over the well-being of others,” the memo, which was filed Friday, states. “He has destroyed people’s lives and livelihoods or threatened to do so on a whim.”
Throughout the 11-page memo, Illuzzi vehemently condemns the once-powerful movie mogul, accusing him of over 30 incidents of sexual assault, harassment, and workplace bullying since 1978.
Among the allegations are 16 new accusations of sexual assault, including one 2007 encounter in which Weinstein allegedly tried to force himself on a woman in the kitchen of “a new restaurant he owned.” After trapping her so she was unable to escape, prosecutors said, Weinstein “took out his penis, masturbated, and ejaculated in a nearby potted plant.”
Beyond the uncharged sex crimes, Illuzzi also describes multiple people who told prosecutors that Weinstein “bragged about his ability to get people killed.”
While the District Attorney’s office does not give a sentencing recommendation for Weinstein, it stresses that “the People will ask the Court to impose a sentence that reflects the seriousness of defendant’s offenses, his total lack of remorse for the harm he has caused, and the need to deter him and others from engaging in further criminal conduct.”
Throughout his four-week trial, prosecutors argued the Pulp Fiction producer used his power and prestige in the entertainment industry to prey on women for over three decades, promising to kickstart their careers in exchange for sex acts.
While over 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and rape after bombshell reports in The New York Times and The New Yorker exposed a slew of sexual-misconduct allegations against him, jurors only heard from six women at the trial.
Most of the women detailed in court how the Oscar-winner lured them into isolated places to discuss their futures in the entertainment industry before sexually assaulting them. The women all admitted they never told the authorities about the abuse out of embarrassment and fear that Weinstein would ruin their chances of making it in Hollywood.
“He has exhibited an attitude of superiority and complete lack of compassion for his fellow man. What is obvious from this list of misdeeds is that many of them are frighteningly similar to the events testified to at trial,” Illuzzi writes in the memo.
Illuzzi also stressed to Burke on Friday that Weinstein’s sentence should send a message to “a wider audience that sexual assault, even if perpetrated upon an acquaintance or in a professional setting, is a serious offense worthy of a lengthy sentence.” Mann and Haley are expected to provide statements to the court at Weinstein’s hearing next week.
Weinstein’s legal battle, however, won’t end with his New York sentencing, as he also faces four sex-crime charges in Los Angeles for allegedly raping one woman and sexually assaulting another over a two-day period in 2013.