Harvey Weinstein faces anywhere from 5 to 29 years in prison

By Chris Harris Greg Hanlon and Jeff Truesdell
February 24, 2020 05:06 PM
Advertisement

After his conviction Monday on charges of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape, how much prison time will Harvey Weinstein see?

The criminal sexual act conviction carries a sentence of 5 to 25 years in prison, while the sentence for the rape conviction is anywhere from probation to four years. This means that Weinstein, 67, faces anywhere from 5 to 29 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 11.

PEOPLE spoke with several legal experts who said Weinstein’s sentence will likely fall somewhere in the middle.

Richard Kaplan, a California defense attorney, guessed Weinstein would get 10 years. “Based on his age and his health, the defense is going to argue that that’s enough,” Kaplan said.

Michael Bachner, a New York-based defense attorney, tells PEOPLE both charges will likely be merged in his sentence so that it runs concurrently.

Another California defense attorney, Brian Claypool, tells PEOPLE, “It’s hard to say, but he’ll probably get somewhere in the middle.”

Harvey Weinstein
Seth Wenig/AP/Shutterstock

The experts said Weinstein’s sentence will hinge on how the judge considers mitigating and aggravating factors.

On the mitigating side is Weinstein’s age, and the fact that this is his first criminal conviction.

On the aggravating side is the allegations of dozens of women against Weinstein, and the fact that he was convicted of crimes against two women: former production assistant Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi, the victim of the criminal sexual act, and aspiring actress Jessica Mann, the victim of the rape.

“That’s powerful, because it shows he’s capable of becoming a predator again,” says Claypool.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Weinstein’s lawyers say he will appeal the verdict. The jurors acquitted Weinstein of three other charges including the most severe charge, predatory sexual assault, which would have carried a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, The Washington Post reports.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

Weinstein also faces charges in California, where the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has accused Weinstein of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013. He has not yet entered a plea to those allegations, which carry a separate penalty of 28 years in state prison if he is later convicted on those California charges.

Bachner tells PEOPLE Weinstein essentially has two options regarding the California charges: Working out a plea deal under which a prison sentence runs concurrently to that in New York, or fighting the charges in California while appealing in New York.

Bachner believes Weinstein will “go forward and fight this case in California and try to get a reversal on appeal here in New York.”

Weinstein will also have to register as a sex offender.

According to attorney Heidi Reavis, whose firm represented a former employee of The Weinstein Company whose internal memo helped expose Weinstein, “Being a registered sex offender has continued impact if and when Weinstein were to see the light of day outside his prison courtyard. Depending on the ‘risk level’ determined by the Court, Weinstein may have to register as a sex offender for the next 20 years to life. Let’s just say, if Weinstein were to have an apartment near a school, he might want to put that on the market soon.”

Cheryl Bader, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney who teaches criminal law at Fordham University School of Law, called the verdict “a victory for the prosecution and victims of sexual assault.”

“The verdict shows that jurors can see past conventional rape myths, like ‘real rape’ is a knife-wielding stranger that jumps out from an alley and that no victim would continue to have willing contact with their rapist,” she said.