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Harvey Weinstein dodges sentencing enhancement, faces 18 years

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Harvey Weinstein faces a shorter prison sentence in California after a Los Angeles jury failed to reach a verdict on whether the disgraced mogul planned his attack on a woman he was convicted of raping.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench declared a mistrial on the issue Tuesday after the panel reported it could not agree on special allegations that Weinstein planned his assault on a model-actor in 2013, and whether she was “particularly vulnerable.”

If the jury had found that either circumstance applied, Weinstein would have faced an enhanced maximum term of 24 years when he is sentenced next year. Tuesday’s development means Weinstein, who was convicted of rape and sexual assault charges a day earlier, will face up to 18 years in prison.

Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence after being convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York in 2020. He is appealing that sentence, as he will likely do with the California verdict. 

Weinstein was charged with raping or sexually assaulting four women, but after a monthlong trial, was only convicted of charges based on one woman’s allegations. Jurors acquitted Weinstein of charges based on another woman’s account, and were unable to reach a verdict on two other women’s allegations.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, was one of the women whose charges the jury could not reach a verdict on. She testified that he had raped her in a hotel room in 2005. On Monday, she released a statement addressing the verdict. 

“Harvey Weinstein will never be able to rape another woman. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars where he belongs. Harvey Weinstein is a serial predator and what he did was rape,” Siebel Newsom said. “Throughout the trial, Weinstein’s lawyers used sexism, misogyny, and bullying tactics to intimidate, demean, and ridicule us survivors. This trial was a stark reminder that we as a society have work to do. To all survivors out there – I see you, I hear you, and I stand with you.” 

The panel was brought back Tuesday to hear arguments on the special circumstances allegation. Lench will hold a hearing Jan. 9 to determine the next steps in the case.

Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, one of Weinstein’s first accusers, and one of several women who testified in his L.a. trial, told “CBS Mornings” Tuesday that she felt “relief” after the verdict was announced. 

“I just am happy that people believe me right now. People believe me and other victims,” said Gutierrez, who worked with the New York Police Department in 2015 to obtain evidence against Weinstein. However, Weinstein avoided charges at the time. 

Testifying against him in L.A., Gutierrez said, gave her a “feeling of being powerful again.” 

“It felt unbelievable when I was there on the stand, looking at him,” she said. 

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