Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorneys are requesting a five-year prison sentence, the minimum for his first-degree criminal sexual act conviction, according to a sentencing letter provided by his spokesman.
His attorneys wrote in the letter to Judge James Burke that Weinstein’s personal charitable giving, advanced age, medical issues and lack of a criminal history should lead to a lower sentence. They wrote that his life “has been destroyed” since the publication of an article in The New Yorker in October 2017 that alleged systemic abuse of women in the entertainment industry.
“His wife divorced him, he was fired from The Weinstein Company, and in short, he lost everything,” the attorneys wrote.
Weinstein, 67, was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape in a New York courtroom in late February based on accusations by Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann. He was acquitted of two more serious charges of predatory sexual assault, which could have come with a life sentence.
The movie producer faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of 25 years in prison for the criminal sexual act charge, and he faces up to 4 years in prison for the rape charge. His sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued in an 11-page court filing last week that Weinstein should receive a sentence that “reflects the seriousness of defendant’s offenses.” He led a “lifetime of abuse towards others, sexual and otherwise,” prosecutors argued, and they highlighted three dozen uncharged incidents and accusations.
“Starting in the 1970s, he has trapped women into his exclusive control and assaulted or attempted to assault them,” prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon wrote in a letter.
Noting that sentencing isn’t limited “to the evidence at trial,” Illuzzi-Orbon wrote that Burke has “wide discretion” to consider everything known about the defendant when the judge imposes his sentence on the disgraced movie mogul.
Attorneys cite ‘collateral consequences’ Weinstein faces
However, Weinstein’s attorneys argued that the prosecution’s request to consider 36 alleged bad acts in sentencing is “inappropriate,” adding they intend to expound upon these issues at sentencing.
Weinstein, who used a walker to arrive to court each day of the trial, was handcuffed and taken into custody after the jury’s verdict. He had a heart procedure last week during which doctors inserted a stent, and on Sunday he fell while at Rikers Island jail, his publicist Juda Engelmayer told CNN.
In the letter, Weinstein’s attorneys said his medical issues mean any sentence above five years would effectively be a life sentence.
“Given his age and specific medical risk factors, any additional term of imprisonment above the mandatory minimum — although the grave reality is that Mr. Weinstein may not even outlive that term — is likely to constitute a de facto life sentence.”
The attorneys also cited the “collateral consequences” he continues to face.
“Mr. Weinstein cannot walk outside without being heckled, he has lost his means to earn a living, simply put, his fall from grace has been historic, perhaps unmatched in the age of social media,” according to the letter signed by attorneys Damon Cheronis, Donna Rotunno and Arthur Aidala.
The letter claims that Weinstein was “constantly maligned by media,” and said “he had to endure descriptions of his appearance, his hygiene, his genitalia, and the most deeply personal and intimate matters become the subject of national and international scrutiny and intrigue.”
The attorneys said the trial “did not fairly portray who he is as a person,” saying “his life story, his accomplishments, and struggles are simply remarkable and should not be disregarded in total because of the jury’s verdict.”
Besides noting his commercial success and contributions to the entertainment industry, the attorneys highlighted Weinstein’s philanthropic endeavors, including that he was an organizer for a 9/11 benefit concert that raised $100 million. The attorneys wrote that Weinstein “always remained involved in the forefront of various social justice causes” during his career.
The defense cited that he has no criminal history and wrote that in providing this information “do not in any way intend to denigrate the seriousness of the conduct for which he was found guilty,” adding his background “should be given substantial consideration in reaching a just and appropriate sentence.”
CNN’s Chloe Melas contributed to this report.