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NYC judge gives Harvey Weinstein 23 years for rape, criminal sex act

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NYC judge gives Harvey Weinstein 23 years for rape, criminal sex act
American film producer Harvey Weinstein, shown arriving at Manhattan Supreme Court Feb. 24, will will face 23 years in prison. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 11 (UPI) -- A Manhattan judge sentenced former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday to 23 years in prison, bringing a landmark victory to the global #MeToo movement that began with the start of this case more than two years ago.

Judge James Burke issued the punishment in Manhattan Supreme Court. Weinstein was given 20 years on a conviction of committing a criminal sexual act and three years for the other charge of third-degree rape. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender.

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Weinstein, 67, was convicted on both counts last month. The jury, however, acquitted him on more serious counts of predatory assault. He still must face similar charges in Los Angeles.

The Academy Award-winning producer and onetime powerful film mogul was convicted stemming from two cases, in 2006 and 2013, involving two women. Multiple other women testified against Weinstein at his trial for prosecutors, who aimed to demonstrate a pattern of sexual misconduct.

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Weinstein, who arrived to Wednesday's hearing in a wheelchair, had faced 25 years in prison on the criminal sex act count alone. Defense attorneys had argued his advanced age, health and lack of a criminal history warranted a minimum sentence.

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Weinstein was transferred to Bellvue Hospital in Manhattan due to chest pains hours after the verdict where he will be evaluated and likely stay overnight, his representative Juda Negelmayer said.

He was moved to the infirmary unit at Rikers Island last week after he had a heart procedure at Bellevue.

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Defense attorney Donna Rotunno, who vowed to appeal, lambasted Burke's sentence, calling it "obscene" and "obnoxious." She added that the punishment "did not speak to the evidence that came out at trial."

Rotunno also called the decision "cowardly" and said she was "overcome with anger."

He did not take the witness stand during his trial, but Weinstein addressed the court Wednesday.

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"I'm worried about this country," he said, comparing himself to Dalton Trumbo, an American author who was blacklisted in Hollywood during the 1940s for belonging to the Communist Party. Weinstein also said enduring the accusations and the trial was "hell on Earth."

The two women at the center of the case gave victim impact statements Wednesday before sentencing. Accuser Tarale Wulff, who testified for prosecutors at trial but wasn't able to make an impact statement in court, instead posted hers online Tuesday.

"Harvey Weinstein stole a part of my self-worth, treating me like I was nothing and I became fearful and mistrustful, not only of others but of myself," Wulff wrote. "These feelings were unbearable to live with and I pushed back the fear, shame and guilt to move on with my life. That is how I survive."

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The case against Weinstein was a landmark event for the #MeToo movement -- as it sparked the campaign more than two years ago and subsequently encouraged victims of sexual abuse and harassment to speak out around the world. Since then. a number of Hollywood figures have been accused of misconduct.

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