Weinstein prosecutor urges stiff term after ‘lifetime of abuse’

At least 16 sexual assaults outside the lawsuit are mentioned as Weinstein’s ‘history of misconduct’. (Reuters pic)

MANHATTAN: Harvey Weinstein’s prosecutor said the movie producer deserves a stiff prison sentence for his conviction on sexual assault and rape charges, saying he’s engaged in a series of “frighteningly similar” attacks upon women dating back to the 1970s.

In a memo to the sentencing judge describing a “lifetime of abuse”, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi cited at least 16 alleged rapes and sexual assaults by the producer that aren’t part of the case.

Illuzzi didn’t recommend a specific prison term but asked the judge to consider the defendant’s “history of misconduct”.

Weinstein, who was convicted Feb 24 after a jury trial, is set for sentencing on March 11. He faces at least five years and as long as 25 years behind bars for first-degree sexual assault of “Project Runway” assistant Mimi Haley in his SoHo loft in 2006.

He was also found guilty of third-degree rape, which carries a maximum of four years in prison, for assaulting aspiring actor Jessica Mann in 2013. Weinstein was cleared of two counts of predatory sexual assault.

The prosecutor urged New York State Supreme Court Justice James Burke to take into account Weinstein’s “abusive behaviour in the workplace” that included “bullying, screaming” of employees and subordinates, along with punching his brother, Bob, in the face so hard that he knocked him out during a business meeting.

Illuzzi also pointed to other “bad acts” that included hiring the private security firm Black Cube to investigate those who Weinstein feared would report him to authorities.

“Throughout his entire adult professional life, defendant has displayed a staggering lack of empathy, treating others with disdain and inhumanity,” Illuzzi wrote in an 11-page memo.

“He has consistently advanced his own sordid desires and fixations over the well-being of others. He has destroyed people’s lives and livelihoods or threatened to do so on whim.”

Arthur Aidala, a lawyer for Weinstein, declined to comment. Aidala has said Weinstein will appeal his conviction, arguing he didn’t get a fair trial. Weinstein’s legal team is expected to file its own sentencing memo to Burke early next week.

During the trial, prosecutors called not only Haley and Mann as witnesses, but also “Sopranos” actor Annabella Sciorra, who testified Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s.

Prosecutors won permission to call three other women to show Weinstein used “forcible compulsion” upon Mann and Haley. Weinstein argued throughout the trial that the sexual encounters were consensual.

Illuzzi said a two-year investigation by New York authorities determined that Weinstein has sexually violated “many” women, dating back to a 1978 incident in a New York hotel room involving an employee of his record company.

In the late 1980s, he pushed his way into a young actress’s apartment after she answered the door and raped her, according to the prosecutor.

In the late 1990s, Weinstein sexually assaulted and “forever stigmatised” a 19-year-old female employee at his company in the UK, she said.