Disgraced movie producer and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein received a reprieve from his reckoning on Monday, as a judge agreed to delay his sentencing so that he can move for a new trial.
Wheeled into a courtroom wearing a mask in downtown Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday morning, the Pulp Fiction producer had been found guilty of sex crimes from coast to coast. The New York case ended in a 23-year sentence, and Weinstein had been set to learn how much more time he would serve on top of that.
Instead, after a brief hearing on Monday, his sentencing was continued until late February or early March.
While sitting with his attorneys inside the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Weinstein removed his mask to discuss something with Werksman – at times relatively animated and speaking with his hands – occasionally audible but unintelligible. The courtroom is named after the first woman lawyer on the West Coast and the first lawyer to suggest the concept of the public defender.
Weinstein spoke up but did not stand up when addressing the court.
“Yes,” the defendant said when asked by Judge Lisa B. Lench if he agreed to give up his right to be sentenced on the scheduled day.
The defense, led by attorney Mark Werksman, asked for the delay in order to accommodate a motion for a new trial. The state largely kept mum throughout but did not object to the defense request.
Weinstein’s motion for a new trial is due no later than Jan. 31, 2023.
Los Angeles prosecutors will have until Valentine’s Day of this year, Feb. 14, 2023, to file the state’s response to that motion. The motion will be decided and dispensed with along with the new sentencing date of Feb. 23, 2023 – though Judge Lench said that hearing may also fall “within five days of that date,” which could push things to March 2, 2023 at the latest – if the new trial motion is denied.
“Yes, your honor,” Weinstein said when asked if he agreed to give up his right to a speedy trial. Under California law, a felony defendant is entitled to a trial within 60 days of their arraignment.
If Weinstein is granted a new trial, proceedings in that would-be case will begin no later than April 24, 2023, the judge said.
“I haven’t seen it, so I have no idea what it’s gonna say,” Lench added, in reference to the forthcoming new trial motion.
In late December, the 70-year-old Weinstein was found guilty on one count each of forced oral copulation, forcible rape, and penetration with a foreign object. Each of those charges stemmed from the February 2013 sexual assault of Jane Doe 1, a Russian-Italian model who Weinstein attacked at Mr. C’s hotel in Beverly Hills — after she returned to her room following a day at the L.A. Italia Film Festival.
Weinstein faces a maximum sentence of 18 years on the charges.
Jane Doe 1 is set to provide a witness statement, the only one of Weinstein’s numerous accusers the judge will allow to address the court.
The defendant is already serving a 23 year sentence after being convicted on two sex crime charges in New York City in 2020 — years after accusations against him first went public and launched the #MeToo Movement.
One day after his conviction on the California charges, jurors deadlocked on whether a number of aggravating factors — essentially sentencing enhancements — should apply over his rape of Jane Doe 1. After failing to reach an agreement the next day, Judge Lench declared a mistrial on the aggravating factors and sent the jurors home, capping off the trial portion of a case that spanned just shy of two months, 44 separate witnesses, and nine days of deliberations.
While substantially increasing the odds that Weinstein will die behind bars, the Los Angeles case against him was not an across-the-board victory for prosecutors. He was acquitted of one charge of sexual batter while jurors hung — and the judge declared a mistrial — on three additional charges involving a total of three other women.
Outside the courtroom on Monday, as attorneys and media were shepherded down the hall after the hearing, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson said it was too soon to tell whether the state would drop or retry the defendant on those three additional counts.
[image via ETIENNE LAURENT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]
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