Today Show host Karl Stefanovic has accused Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer of “having a whine”, after he appeared on the morning show to speak about the disgraced former producer’s landmark jail sentence.
Arthur Aidala appeared on Today on Thursday morning to complain about the 23-year jail sentence which was handed down to Weinstein in New York on Wednesday (local time).
He blamed the masses for influencing the judge’s decision, and clashed with Stefanovic’s opposing views.
“Justice has been served here, yet still no apology from your client?” Stefanovic asked, as he introduced Aidala.
Aidala used his air time to outline why he thinks justice had not been served and was highly critical of the sentence which was given to Weinstein.
Weinstein, 67, was found guilty of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree in February.
“I told this to the judge today, the mean sentence of what someone gets sentenced to for this exact crime is 8.2 years, 8 years and 2 months,” Aidala said.
“And today, without the judge saying why, Mr Weinstein deserves triple that sentence, he sentenced him to that.”
America has been united in vilifying Weinstein, lawyer says
He then went on to say if he was appearing on the morning talk show as a legal analyst, not Weinstein’s lawyer, he would be telling Australia he was “disappointed” Harvey Weinstein was not sentenced the same as others who have been convicted before him.
“The system actually failed all of us today, because justice should be blind, and it shouldn't be individual person who's part of a movement or part of a #MeToo thing specific,” he said.
Aidala then went on to speculate the judge handed down the 23-year sentence due to a “degree of self-preservation”, and then blamed the American media, who he says has been “against” Weinstein since the allegations of abuse came to light in 2017.
“Basically, America more or less has been unified in vilifying Harvey Weinstein,” he said.
It was after Aidala wrapped up his rant about the judge Stefanovic jumped in and said it sounded like he was “having a whine” because he “lost”, an accusation he was quick to rebuff.
“No! Not at all! If I was here telling you he got eight years or nine years or 10 years, I wouldn't have had a whine,” he said, promising the Today hosts he was not throwing around “made-up numbers”.
“This is New York State gave us the statistics. On this charge, it's eight years.
“People with heavy criminal records get eight years. The judge did not articulate why Harvey Weinstein is getting three times that, not double, he didn't go from 8 to 16, he basically went from 8 to 24. Why? Why? Why?”
“Come on, it’s a whine!” Stefanovic exclaimed, after Aidala insisted he was not having a “whine”.
“You know it’s a whine,” Stefanovic continued, as the lawyer continued to defend himself, saying he would be saying the same thing even if he wasn’t Weinstein’s lawyer.
Aidala finished off his time on Today by adding 23 years was a “life sentence” for Weinstein, who has been crouched over a walking frame for most of the trial and was taken out of court in a wheelchair after sentencing.
Weinstein blames #MeToo movement
The sentencing was a spectacular conclusion for the trial of the once-powerful Hollywood producer and a huge win for the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein blamed the Me Too movement for men being held accountable for their actions in a statement in court.
He also failed to apologise to the victims or show any remorse for his actions, AFP reported.
“I was the first example and now there are thousands of men being accused. I'm worried about this country,” he said.
Nearly 90 women came forward and alleged 40 years of vile predatory behaviour by Weinstein.
The jury comprised of seven men and five women convicted Weinstein of raping former actress Jessica Mann in 2013 and of forcibly performing oral sex on a former production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, in 2006.
Prosecutors called on New York Justice, James Burke, to issue a lengthy jail sentence due to Weinstein indulging in a “lifetime of abuse” and his lack of remorse.
The prosecution asked the judge in a pre-sentencing letter to consider the 36 other sexual abuse and harassment allegations, dating back to the 1970s against Weinstein which were not part of the trial.
However Weinstein’s legal team decided to ask the judge to take into account Weinstein’s achievements in the entertainment industry including his Oscar nominations and wins.
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