March 11, 2020 / 4:56 PM / 23 days ago

Tears, thanks and surprise over Harvey Weinstein's 23-year sentence

(Reuters) - Harvey Weinstein's 23-year jail sentence for rape and sexual assault was greeted with tears, delight and surprise on Wednesday, particularly from some of the scores of women who have accused him of sexual misconduct dating back decades.

A New York judge sentenced the disgraced former film producer after a grueling and emotional trial in which six women testified about the abuse they said they suffered at his hands.

"I literally cried tears of amazement, gratitude that the justice system has worked on behalf of all of his victims today," tweeted Mira Sorvino, one of dozens of actresses who accused Weinstein both of misconduct and of ruining their careers.

Sorvino is one of a group of 24 Weinstein accusers called the Silence Breakers that also includes Ashley Judd, Rosanna Arquette and Rose McGowan. Their allegations, and scores of others, fueled the #MeToo movement.

The Silence Breakers in a statement welcomed the jail sentence but added "no amount of jail time will repair the lives he ruined, the careers he destroyed, or the damage he has caused."

British comedian and singer Sooz Kempner commented, "Now we just need Rose McGowan, Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd and a host of other incredible actors he so nearly completely destroyed to end up in awesome projects."

Weinstein, who appeared in court in a wheelchair before being sentenced by Justice James Burke, had faced a sentence of between five and 29 years.

In the end, he got more than double the 3-10 year sentence handed down to comedian Bill Cosby in 2018 for sexual assault.

"Thank you Judge Burke. Thank you to the jury. Thank you for believing survivors. Thank you for changing the future for us all," actress Ellen Barkin wrote on Twitter.

Actress Jodie Turner-Smith, the star of the independent film "Queen & Slim," wrote on Twitter: "23 years in prison for Harvey Weinstein. Justice is served."

Appearing before the media outside court, attorney Gloria Allred, who represented three of the women who testified at Weinstein's trial, waved a piece of paper saying, "This is what justice looks like, 20 + 3 years."

Actress Rosanna Arquette was among commenters on social media who were angered by remarks from Weinstein's defense attorney Donna Rotunno, who called the 23-year term obscene and obnoxious.

Harvey Weinstein speaks as witnesses watch during the sentencing following his conviction on sexual assault and rape charges in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. March 11, 2020 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

"Please Shut up Donna Rotunno. the only obscene and obnoxious person here is you. He got what he deserved because he’s a rapist," Arquette tweeted.

Time's Up, the group fighting sexual harassment in the wider workplace that was formed in 2018 as a result of the #MeToo movement, said on Wednesday that the social change triggered by the scores of women who accused Weinstein of misconduct was "nothing short of transformational."

"We hope today's sentence brings them some measure of peace, and that they take pride in knowing the lasting impact they've had on our culture," Time's Up added in a statement.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Will Dunham and Marguerita Choy

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