The woman whose grueling testimony led to Harvey Weinstein’s L.A. rape conviction told the court in tearful statement on Thursday that she had blamed herself for the assault.
The woman, identified as Jane Doe #1, spoke of the impact of the rape just before Weinstein was sentenced to an additional 16 years behind bars, on top of his 23-year New York sentence.
“Thank you for giving me this opportunity to address this court and the defendant,” she said. “It is extremely difficult for me to stand here, ten years later, as the effects of this rape are still raw, and difficult to discuss. I have been carrying this weight, this trauma, this irrational belief that it was my fault for years.”
At that point, she began to tear up.
“Today, the defendant is being sentenced because it was not my fault,” she said. “What he did was illegal. That it was, in fact, rape.”
Speaking to Judge Lisa B. Lench, Jane Doe #1 spoke about the lasting impact the assault has had on her life over the past decade. “My rapist probably never thought about me since the night that it happened. But I thought about him every single day,” she said.
“His selfish, disgusting actions have greatly impacted me and my life. What he did to me was horrible,” Jane Doe #1 uttered through tears. “Before that night, I was a very happy, confident woman. I valued myself and the strong relationship I had with God. I was in control of my life and my career. I was a loving mother and wife, a good friend. I was excited for my future. Everything changed after the defendant brutally assaulted me. I lost all of this.”
Jane Doe #1, a European model, testified that Weinstein raped her in her hotel room after the Los Angeles Italia Film Festival in 2013. She was the first witness called in Weinstein’s two-month L.A. trial, and she was on the stand for three days of tearful testimony and cross-examination. The jury found Weinstein guilty of all the three charges relating to Jane Doe #1, but acquitted him of one charge, and was deadlocked on three other counts. In other words, without Jane Doe #1, it’s possible Weinstein would have walked free.
“Inside, I had fallen apart,” she told the judge of the impact of Weinstein’s assult. “I was punishing myself for what he did to me. I felt worthless, humiliated. I thought that I did something wrong because he chose me that night. I must be a bad person if something this awful could happen to me… I no longer felt safe. I distanced myself from the industry I loved. I soon became invisible to myself and to the world. I lost my identity… I thought that no one could or should love me. I was heartbroken, empty, and alone. He had broken me into a million pieces.”
She told the judge that her relationship with her children was impacted and she became a worse mother because of the trauma she endured after the assault. “I didn’t want to touch my children over how dirty I felt,” she said. “My kids were often frustrated and cried because they didn’t recognize me anymore.”
Jane Doe #1 attended the sentencing with her daughter, who had also testified during the trial. After she delivered her remarks, she sat in the gallery and sobbed through the remainder of the sentencing, as she was consoled by her daughter and seated next to her attorney, Dave Ring.
She spoke about the process of testifying, and told the judge that just thinking of seeing Weinstein in the court room made her sick. “I have to remind myself that he won’t be able to hurt me here,” she said.
Jane Doe #1 said she noticed Weinstein was smirking and smiling at her while when she was testifying.
“I wanted to believe that some part of him would feel remorse. During my testimony I saw his eyes,” she said, “And I understood at that moment he was the exact same man that raped me all those years ago. The man who ripped out my soul has no regrets.”
She cried harder. She urged the judge to give Weinstein the maximum time possible.
“There is no prison sentence long enough to erase the damage. I’m still learning everyday how to live with this,” she told the judge. “I will live with this for the rest of my life. So should he… He deserves to experience the same shame, isolation, fear and depression that I did. It took me plenty of dark moments to finally realize that I will not allow a monster like him to decide my worth.”
“Today, he will be sentenced. He cannot hurt anyone anymore,” Jane Doe #1 said, adding that she hopes her courage to come forward inspires others.
“I have been silent for a long time,” she said. “Now, I stand here with as much confidence as I can and say that none of us should carry this kind of pain. Victim shaming and victim blaming must be stopped. By coming forward, I raise my voice for all survivors, immigrants, citizens, whether you are powerful, poor, successful, or from any walk of life, for all those people who feel ashamed, who blame themselves, who stay silent, for those who don’t feel strong, for those who are afraid. I hope my story of justice provides some comfort by reminding you that you are not alone.”
She summed up her emotional statements by thanking the jury and the prosecutors. “I truly believe that this verdict, and the maximum sentence, will restore the faith in the justice system for many survivors out there,” she told the judge, before Weinstein got 16 years.
When it was his turn to speak, Weinstein denied that he had raped her, or even knew her. “I did not rape this woman. I did not see this woman. She perjured herself,” Weinstein told the judge in the courtroom. “This is a made-up story. With all due respect, Jane Doe #1 is an actress and can turn on the tears.”
Weinstein’s defense team argued that she fabricated the allegation and that Weinstein was never even in her hotel room that night. The defense also alleged that Jane Doe #1 lied on the stand when she denied having a sexual relationship with the organizer of the L.A. Italia Film Festival. The defense has said they have text messages that would “impeach” her credibility, and that the jury would not have convicted if the defense had been allowed to introduce those messages.
After the verdict, Jane Doe #1 filed a civil suit against Weinstein for the rape. The defense argued that she had waited until after the trial to strategically shield her financial motive. Alan Jackson, Weinstein’s defense lawyer, argued that the lawsuit constitutes “new evidence” that impeaches her credibility.
Judge Lisa Lench denied the defense request for a new trial.