(CBS News) — Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison Wednesday for his rape and criminal sex act convictions. More than 80 women, many of them in the entertainment industry, have accused Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment and six women testified against the disgraced movie producer during the weeks-long trial.
Just days before his sentencing, the name of another high-profile actress was drawn into the case: Jennifer Aniston. On Monday, documents were unsealed that revealed correspondence between Weinstein and others in 2017.
In one email from October of that year, Weinstein is asked to respond to an inquiry from The National Enquirer. The tabloid alleged that Jennifer Aniston told a friend that she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein — a story Aniston’s spokesperson says was not true.
“Jennifer confided to a friend during the production of a 2005 movie ‘Derailed’ Weinstein sexually assaulted her by pressing up against her and grabbing her buttocks,” the National Enquirer wrote to Weinstein in an email seeking his comment for the story. The tabloid claimed Aniston remained silent because she was “too embarrassed.”
It is unclear if Weinstein responded to this email, but he did respond to one from the Miami New Times regarding Aniston: “Jen Aniston should be killed,” he wrote.
Aniston’s representative told media outlets Tuesday that the actress had never been alone with Weinstein and the story that he’d groped her was unfounded. “The National Enquirer claims are false. Jennifer has not been harassed or assaulted by Harvey,” Stephen Huvane told Variety.
Aniston was not one of the many high-profile actresses to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, fueling the rise of the #MeToo movement. Famous accusers who did speak out against him include Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.
At Weinstein’s trial, actress Annabella Sciorra testified that he raped her in the mid-1990s. Her friend actress Rosie Perez testified that Sciorra told her about it at the time but didn’t want to go to the police because “he’d destroy me.”
The documents released Monday also show that Weinstein reached out to about two dozen high-profile figures, including Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg, to ask for help after the allegations against him went public.
“My board is thinking of firing me,” Weinstein wrote to Bloomberg. “All I’m asking for is, let me take a leave of absence and get into heavy therapy and counseling whether it be in a facility or somewhere else, and allow me to resurrect myself with a second chance.”
Bloomberg did not reply, his spokesman told The New York Times.
Last month, Weinstein was convicted of rape in the third degree for assaulting aspiring actress Jessica Mann in a New York City hotel room in 2013, and of committing a criminal sex act for forcing oral sex on former production assistant Mimi Haley in 2006.
The 67-year-old faced a minimum of 5 years in prison and a maximum of 25 years in prison on the criminal sex act count. The third-degree rape count carried a maximum penalty of 4 years, meaning Weinstein faced a maximum possible sentence of 29 years.
A judge sentenced Wednesday him to serve 20 years on the first count and 3 years on the second count. He must also serve 5 years of post-release supervision and register as a sex offender. He would be 90 years old after serving the full 23 year sentence.
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