Harvey Weinstein prosecutors seek tough sentence for his 'lifetime of abuse' - USA TODAY

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Maria Puente USA TODAY

Published 9:10 PM EST Mar 6, 2020

Harvey Weinstein's sentence for his conviction on two sex crimes should reflect his "lifetime of abuse" as shown at his trial and in 36 other cases of sexual harassment and assault, workplace abuse and even physically assaulting a reporter, Manhattan prosecutors said in a letter to the trial judge released Friday. 

The 11-page letter from Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi was sent to Judge James Burke in advance of Weinstein's sentencing on March 11, when prosecutors are expected to make an oral statement in court about the sentence.

The trial evidence, the testimony of the six accusers who took the stand, and additional allegations outlined in the letter, Illuzzi said, "show a lifetime of abuse towards others, sexual and otherwise."

She asked the judge 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."

Weinstein was convicted Feb. 24 of third-degree rape and first-degree sexual assault involving two women, and was acquitted of three more serious charges. He could be sentenced to prison for a term ranging from five years to 25 years. 

The two women he was convicted of sexually assaulting, Miriam "Mimi" Haleyi and Jessica Mann, also are expected to give victim impact statements.

Prosecutors, who want Weinstein's sentence to fall at the longer end of the spectrum, compiled a list of accusations they collected over two years to demonstrate that Weinstein is a predator, even if he's been convicted of only two crimes. 

"As this court is well aware, in imposing what it deems to be a fair and just punishment, a sentencing court is not limited to the evidence at trial," Illuzzi wrote, citing precedent to argue that the judge has "wide discretion to consider all circumstances that shed light on a convicted person's background, history and behavior" in considering a sentence.

"Chief among the information considered at sentencing is the defendant's history of 'misconduct, whether or not it resulted in convictions,' " Illuzzi said, citing precedents in several federal cases.

Arthur Aidala, one of Weinstein's defense lawyers, told USA TODAY his team has no comment on the prosecution's letter. He said they expect to issue their own pre-sentencing letter to the judge on Monday. 

Responding to USA TODAY's request for comment, Weinstein spokesman Juda Engelmayer said in an e-mail: "Once we file our answers will be clear."

The prosecution list of 36 allegations is divided into three categories: alleged acts of sexual assault and harassment; alleged abusive behavior in the work environment; and other alleged "bad acts."

The earliest alleged sexual assault occurred in 1978 when an employee of his music promotion company in Buffalo said she was forced to share a New York City hotel room with Weinstein and woke up to find him raping her.

The most recent alleged assault occurred in 2014 at the Cannes Film Festival where he allegedly trapped a woman in a hotel room bathroom and groped her while masturbating.

Weinstein's alleged acts of workplace abuse include throwing a table of food on an employee who disagreed with him, threatening to throw a woman employee off a boat at the Cannes Film Festival, and constantly bullying, berating and overworking his employees and assistants. 

His "bad acts" include an alleged 2000 physical assault on a reporter who tried to defend his wife, another reporter who approached Weinstein for a quote about a movie at a New York party and was verbally attacked in abusive language. When the husband asked Weinstein for an apology, the producer allegedly grabbed him by the neck, pulled him outside into the street, put him in a headlock and struck his head. The alleged assault was stopped by others.

"Multiple people have reported to the People that defendant bragged about his ability to get people killed," Illuzzi's letter said. 

After undergoing a heart blockage procedure at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, Weinstein is now being held in the infirmary at New York City's main jail on Rikers Island pending the sentencing. 


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