Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years for rape, criminal sex act

Once-powerful movie mogul faced up to 29 years in prison

Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years behind bars on Wednesday, just weeks after he was found guilty of third-degree rape and criminal sex act.

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Weinstein, 67, faced a minimum of five years and a maximum of 25 years in prison for the criminal sex act count, while the third-degree rape count carried a maximum penalty of four years.

His attorneys have already said they plan to appeal.

Weinstein addressed the court before Judge James Burke handed down his sentence, saying men facing allegations in the #MeToo movement are being accused of “things that none of us understood,” and that he was confused by the rape case that was about to put him in prison.

“Thousands of men are losing due process. I’m worried about this country,” he said.

Twenty-four of Weinstein's accusers, who formed The Silence Breakers, a group formed to speak out against sexual assault, released a statement following the sentencing.

“Harvey Weinstein's legacy will always be that he's a convicted rapist. He is going to jail – but no amount of jail time will repair the lives he ruined, the careers he destroyed, or the damage he has caused," the statement reads. "The New York trial has ended, but the Silence Breakers will persist in our crusade for cultural change, justice and to have our voices heard.”

Silence Breakers include celebrities Ashley Judd, Dawn Dunning, Rosanna Arquette and Rose McGowan.

Meanwhile, reps from the Time's Up Foundation thanked the women who testified in the case and said "we remain in solidarity with the more than 100 survivors who suffered abuse, harassment, and rape at the hands of Harvey Weinstein."

"The trauma of sexual assault and harassment is lifelong -- we can only hope that today’s sentence brings all of the survivors of Harvey Weinstein some measure of peace," the statement reads. “We also hope that these women take pride in knowing the impact they have had on our culture at large."

The disgraced movie mogul was reportedly led into the courtroom in a wheelchair. Once settled, he heard from the two women whose allegations ultimately got him convicted, Jessica Mann and Mimi Haleyi, before the judge revealed his fate.

Weinstein was originally charged with five counts stemming from the allegations of "Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra and the two other women.

Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan courthouse during jury deliberations in his rape trial, Feb. 24, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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Sciorra's account that he raped and sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s was the basis for two counts of predatory sexual assault, a charge that carried a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Mann, an aspiring actress, said he raped her in March 2013, while Haleyi, a former film and TV production assistant, said he forcibly performed oral sex on her in March 2006. Both women addressed the court before Weinstein spoke and his sentence was handed down.

Jessica Mann (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images); Mimi Haleyi (Associated Press)

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“I believe that if Harvey Weinstein was not convicted by this jury, it would happen again and again and again,” Haleyi told the judge on Wednesday, through tears.

Meanwhile, Mann told the court: “The day my screams were heard from the witness room was the day my voice came back to its full power... It takes a very special kind of evil to exploit connections to leverage rape."

Both women asked that Weinstein receive the maximum sentence for their respective counts.

The jury ultimately found Weinstein not guilty on the most serious charges, predatory sexual assault, that could have resulted in a life sentence. He was also acquitted of first-degree rape.

Weinstein was hospitalized and underwent heart surgery following his conviction, then was being housed in a special medical facility located on Rikers Island in the lead-up to his sentencing.

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His attorneys had asked that the judge show him mercy and sentence him to five years behind bars.

Harvey Weinstein is led out of Manhattan Supreme Court by court officers after a jury convicted him of rape and sexual assault, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

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Weinstein will be transferred from the city’s jail system to the state prison system, where he will undergo a thorough evaluation, including a comprehensive medical review, to determine which facility is best for his physical and security needs.

He must later appear before a judge in California, where he was charged in January with forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.

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The charges are connected to two separate instances that occurred over the course of as many days in 2013, according to a press release by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

On Feb. 18 of that year, he is accused of forcing himself into an unidentified female victim's hotel room and raping her. The next day, he allegedly sexually assaulted a different woman in a Beverly Hills hotel room. L.A. prosecutors are seeking $5 million bail.

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FOX News' Marta Dhanis and The Associated Press contributed to this report.