Weinstein will die in jail if sentenced to more than five years - lawyer
The lawyers also asked Justice James Burke to consider how Weinstein's life was "destroyed" and how he "lost everything" when he was first accused of sexual misconduct in a 2017 article.
LONDON - Harvey Weinstein's legal team have claimed he may die in jail if he's sentenced to more than five years behind bars.
In February, the 67-year-old disgraced movie mogul was found guilty of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sex act following his trial in Manhattan on five counts pertaining to sexual assault, of which he was found not guilty of the other three.
And ahead of his sentencing date on Wednesday, his lawyers have filed legal documents to claim a prison sentence longer than the mandatory minimum of five years would essentially be "a de facto life sentence".
Weinstein - who faces up to 29 years in jail - had been battling back pain throughout his trial, and was rushed to hospital following his verdict after suffering from chest pains, resulting in him having an operation last week before being sent to the infirmary at Rikers Island jail.
In a letter to New York Supreme Court Justice James Burke, his legal team stated: "The grave reality is that Mr. Weinstein may not even outlive that term."
The lawyers also asked Burke to consider how Weinstein's life was "destroyed" and how he "lost everything" when he was first accused of sexual misconduct in a 2017 article, which kickstarted the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.
They claimed: "Mr. Weinstein was constantly maligned by the media, having long since been convicted in the court of public opinion. His fall from grace has been historic, perhaps unmatched in the age of social media."
Weinstein's legal team went on to allege the producer's trial did not "fairly portray" him "as a person".
They wrote: "The trial did not fairly portray who he is as a person. His life story, his accomplishments, and struggles are simply remarkable and should not be disregarded in total because of a jury's verdict."
Weinstein is set to be sentenced on 11 March, after spending nearly two weeks at Bellevue Hospital and being moved to Rikers Island jail last week.