Harvey Weinstein Los Angeles sentencing on rape and sexual assault charges delayed until 23 February

The sentencing of disgraced film producer and convicted sex criminal Harvey Weinstein has been delayed until 23 February after he was found guilty of rape and sexual assault in a Los Angeles court last month.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Monday morning where a motion to delay was filed. Weinstein’s legal team plans to file for a new trial before the end of this month, according to journalist Meghann Cuniff.

“Any reporter who’s covered court outside a few drop ins for high-profile cases will tell you the chances are slim that someone convicted on Dec. 20 will be sentenced on Jan. 9, but that didn’t stop Judge Lench, prosecutors and the defense from scheduling this anyway,” she tweeted on Monday morning.

The 70-year-old is already serving a 23-year sentence following a 2020 New York conviction on charges of rape and sexual assault.

Weinstein has been publically accused by more than 90 women of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment during a period of decades.

The former movie mogul had been jailed for three years in New York before he faced his second criminal trial in LA in October of last year. He was convicted last month on three charges of rape and sexual assault against a European model who testified anonymously against him.

In the LA trial, four women testified that Weinstein had raped or sexually assaulted them, but he was only convicted on the allegations of the anonymous model following jury deliberations lasting nine days.

Jurors chose to acquit Weinstein on the allegations from one woman and couldn’t establish a verdict on the charges stemming from the accounts of two others, including filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Following the verdict, Weinstein faces a maximum sentence of 18 years after avoiding a sentence of up to 24 years after the jury couldn’t agree on if he qualified for added prison time based on exacerbating factors, The Guardian noted.

Some of those who have accused Weinstein of wrongdoing have noted the importance of the LA sentencing following the highest court in New York state agreeing to hear the appeal of his case in the state.

The conviction on the West Coast will mean that Weinstein remains behind bars even if his previous conviction is overturned, such as in the case of Bill Cosby, who left prison in June 2021.

During the LA trial, Weinstein’s attorneys attempted to tarnish the credibility of his accusers, calling Ms Siebel Newsom a “bimbo”. Legal analysts noted that the rampant misogyny of the defence was unusual and was reminiscent of the legal strategies used in the 1980s.

The trial included weeks of detailed testimony from the four women, outlining how Weinstein had raped or assaulted them in LA hotels. Four other women testified that there was a similar pattern of alleged rapes and sexual assaults from other areas all over the world.

At the end of the trial, the LA jury was unable to agree on a number of the charges against the former producer.

“Throughout the trial, Weinstein’s lawyers used sexism, misogyny, and bullying tactics to intimidate, demean, and ridicule us survivors,” Ms Siebel Newsom said in a statement following the verdict. “This trial was a stark reminder that we as a society have work to do.”

The final day that the prosecution will be able to re-try Weinstein on the remaining charges is 24 April, Ms Cuniff noted.

Under California state law, the sentencing had to be scheduled within 20 days unless Weinstein waived time, leading it to be set for Monday.

“But still, the chances of it actually happening today always seemed about zilch,” Ms Cuniff wrote.

She added that Weinstein would have been sentenced on Monday if his legal team had not chosen to argue for a new trial to be held, “though I’m not sure on what planet defense lawyers in a case like wouldn’t want to file a motion for new trial”.