Weinstein was found guilty of rape at a Los Angeles trial in another #MeToo moment of reckoning, five years after he became a magnet for the movement. Image Credit: Reuters

Disgraced movie industry tycoon Harvey Weinstein is due to be sentenced on Thursday over the rape of a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel room a decade ago. The Academy Award-winning producer, 70, is already serving a 23-year sentence for his separate 2020 conviction in New York for sex crimes.

He could face a further 18-year term in California, which would increase the likelihood that the "Shakespeare in Love" mogul will see out the remainder of his life in prison - though he is appealing in both cases.

Sentenced in a Los Angeles courtroom

In December, he was convicted by a Los Angeles jury of forcible rape  by a foreign object of a European actress whose identity was not revealed.

The court heard explicit accounts of meetings between the previously influential movie producer and several young women who were attempting to find a foothold in Hollywood. Prosecutors said Weinstein exploited and abused women for years, and long enjoyed impunity because of his then-powerful position in the industry.

The women would have risked losing their future Hollywood job prospects if they had publicly accused Weinstein at the time, prosecutors said.

Weinstein was ultimately convicted in the Los Angeles case of assaulting one woman, but acquitted of sexual battery involving a second. The jury did not reach a verdict on charges relating to the alleged assaults of two other women, one of whom was identified by her lawyers as Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the now-wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Thursday's court session will begin with a hearing on a defense motion requesting either a new trial or a reduced verdict.

Defense court filings seen by AFP allege that Weinstein's lawyers were precluded from admitting important evidence about the rape victim - including Facebook messages with an alleged lover which the judge deemed irrelevant - and that their cross-examination was limited.

If the motion is denied, Judge Lisa Lench has said that sentencing will take place that same day. Weinstein is appealing the Los Angeles verdict.