Early on Friday, film mogul Harvey Weinstein turned himself in and was formally arrested by the New York Police Department, seven months after he was first alleged of sexual misconduct in a series of exposes. Given the charges against him and the long list of powerful and famous individuals who have escaped with a slap on the wrist despite such serious charges, many have wondered if the 66-year-old Miramax co-founder will see jail time.
As noted by Page Six, Weinstein faces charges of rape, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, and a criminal sex act in relation to two separate cases, including that of actress Lucia Evans, who accused Weinstein of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in 2004, and another case involving an unnamed woman. These women are just two out of more than 80 who had accused the former film producer of sexually harassing or abusing them over the past several months, sparking the #MeToo Movement as several other male public figures faced similar allegations, some of which involved incidents that supposedly happened decades ago.
While it is still unclear if Harvey Weinstein will definitely go to jail following his arrest, Page Six wrote that the rape charge made against him could carry a sentence of up to 25 years. That doesn’t take into account the sexual assault and harassment cases Weinstein is facing in other parts of the world. According to CNN, Weinstein is also being investigated for sexual misconduct cases in Los Angeles and London.
Even with all those cases and the sheer number of women who have claimed that they were harassed or assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, the possibility of him going to jail could depend on where the alleged incident happened, among other factors. In October, New York criminal defense attorney Stuart Slotnick talked to People, explaining that different states have their own statutes of limitations, with the possibility of the statute being extended depending on the circumstances. Furthermore, there are some crimes where the statute of limitations does not apply.
“In prosecution for a Class A felony, and rape in the first degree or aggravated sexual abuse, there’s no statute of limitations,” said Slotnick.
“For any other felonies it’s five years. So there’s some crimes of rape where there’s no statute and some where it’s five years. Rape in the first degree would be forcible compulsion.”
In that same article, Los Angeles-based lawyer Angela Reddock-Wright told People that Harvey Weinstein could potentially go to jail for the highest-level charges made against him, but things might be different if he is only prosecuted for lower-level charges, as he could end up pleading “to some type of action” that would allow him to walk away a free man, but be kept under “very strict” probation going forward.
Per CNN, Harvey Weinstein is expected to make a court appearance later on Friday. His bond is currently set at $2 million, said a law enforcement source who spoke to CNN about his arrest.