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Weinstein faces sentencing in California for rape and sexual assault conviction

DWANE BROWN, HOST:

We want to warn you that this next story deals with rape and sexual assault, specifically the conviction of those crimes of disgraced film executive Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein is scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom for sentencing on three counts today. He's already serving a separate 23-year sentence following similar convictions in New York. NPR's Mandalit del Barco has more.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: The Los Angeles jury found Harvey Weinstein guilty of raping and sexually assaulting a model and actress identified in court as Jane Doe No. 1. After the verdict, she told news outlets Weinstein forever destroyed her the night he raped her after a film festival in 2013. In a statement, she said, quote, "I hope Weinstein never sees the outside of a prison cell during his lifetime." The 70-year-old still has 21 more years to serve in New York prison, though he's appealing that rape conviction. Here in California, he could face an additional 18 years behind bars. He's likely to appeal this, too. During the LA trial, the jury heard testimony from dozens of women, and they heard a secret recording of Weinstein trying to lure one woman into a hotel room.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HARVEY WEINSTEIN: Please. I'm not going to do anything. I swear on my children. Please come in. On everything - I'm a famous guy.

AMBRA BATTILANA GUTIERREZ: I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now.

WEINSTEIN: Please come in now.

DEL BARCO: That audio is from a wire worn by Ambra Battilana Gutierrez during a New York City Police sting operation. It was part of the evidence presented in court. Prosecutors called Weinstein a monster and predator. But in LA, as in New York, Weinstein maintained that any relations he had were consensual, what his attorneys called transactional sex with women wanting to get ahead in Hollywood. It was part of the so-called casting-couch culture, they said, calling at least one of his accusers a bimbo. In the end, the LA jury acquitted Weinstein of sexually abusing another Jane Doe, and they couldn't agree over whether he had raped or abused two other women, including Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California's governor. After the verdict, Newsom's attorney, Beth Fegan, took issue with Weinstein's defense strategy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BETH FEGAN: Attacking the women and calling them bimbos really exacerbated their trauma.

DEL BARCO: Many of the accusers were disappointed Weinstein wasn't convicted on all counts. More than 100 women have come forward with allegations dating back decades. If the New York and California convictions are upheld, Harvey Weinstein, the original villain of the #MeToo movement, could spend the rest of his days behind bars.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.