Harvey Weinstein says he is innocent of rape conviction

Harvey Weinstein made a final plea in court Thursday, just before a judge sentenced him to 16 years in prison.

“I claim that I am innocent,” he said. “I have never raped or sexually assaulted Jane Doe 1. I have never known this woman and the fact is she does not know me. This is about money and coming after me.”

Weinstein did not stand up to speak in court, noting that he suffers from a spinal condition. From his chair, he targeted a “cottage industry of lawyers” who “put victims on the witness stand” and then file civil suits.

“I didn’t rape that woman. I have not seen this woman. She committed perjury,” Weinstein said. “It’s a made-up story. With all due respect, Jane Doe 1 is an actress and she sheds tears.”

Weinstein also said he has no intention of causing harm and is “here to bring joy.” He said he spent many years making people happy.

“Please do not sentence me to life imprisonment,” he said. “I do not deserve it. There are so many things wrong with this case. There’s no proof.”

Weinstein also noted that a couple of jurors showed up for the sentencing, which he says “says a lot.” The defense had argued that if the jury had received the full facts, they would not have voted in favor of a conviction.

“There are too many loopholes,” he said. “In this case, too much is wrong. That’s not true… I wasn’t there. This is a setup. This is not how you should behave in this situation. I beg your mercy.”

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Weinstein was found guilty by a Los Angeles jury in December on three counts of rape and sexual assault. He is already serving a 23-year sentence after being convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York in 2020. In this case, too, he protests his innocence.

Prosecutors argued that Weinstein was a predator who used his power to lure and attack women in hotel rooms under the guise of a business meeting or audition. His defense argued that women willingly engaged in “transactional sex” because Weinstein was influential in the entertainment industry. Each of Weinstein’s legal teams has stated that he unfairly became the face of the #MeToo movement after his fall in 2017.

Weinstein’s LA attorneys, Mark Werksman and Alan Jackson, had requested a new trial, arguing that the jury was deprived of information that would have questioned the credibility of Jane Doe #1. The judge denied that motion Thursday morning before Weinstein delivered his final plea.

The jury returned a split verdict after deliberating for ten days in December. They acquitted him of one charge and were deadlocked on three others, although they voted to convict him on each of those three counts.

After he was sentenced in LA, a spokesman for Weinstein said he was “disappointed” with the verdict but vowed to “prove his innocence,” alluding to a future appeal.