Harvey Weinstein’s trial for sexual assault begins in Los Angeles

Five years after the women’s stories were made about him The #MeToo movement is explodingHarvey Weinstein is on trial in Los Angeles, the city where he was once an Oscar juggernaut.

Already serving a sentence of 23 years convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York, the 70-year-old former movie mogul faces different charges, including several that prosecutors say occurred during a critical Oscars week in Los Angeles jury selection for an eight-week trial that starts on monday.

Weinstein has been accused on four counts of rape and seven other sexual assaults involving five women, who will appear in court as Jane Douche to tell their stories. He has pleaded not guilty. The alleged sexual assaults span from 2004 to 2013 and most occurred in hotel rooms in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, prosecutors said.

Four more women will be allowed to take the stand to give reports of sexual assaults against Weinstein that did not lead to charges, but prosecutors hope will show jurors that he had a propensity to commit such acts.

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, California, on October 4, 2022. Weinstein was extradited from New York to Los Angeles to face sexual assault charges.

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In February 2020, a Manhattan jury found Weinstein guilty third-degree rape for sexually assaulting an actor in a New York hotel room in 2013 and one count of criminal sexual act for forcing oral sex on a former production assistant in 2006.

In August, a judge from New York approved Weinstein’s application to appeal the conviction.

In June the British prosecutors also accused Weinstein by sexually assaulting a woman in 1996.

Beginning in the 1990s, Weinstein, through the Miramax company he ran with his brother, pioneered broad and aggressive campaigns to promote Oscar nominees. He’s had unparalleled success, propelling films like “Shakespeare in Love” and “The Artist” to best picture wins and becoming among the most pleased men ever during Oscar acceptance speeches.

Miramax and its successor, The Weinstein Co., were based in New York, where Weinstein lived and worked, but that didn’t diminish his presence in Hollywood.

“He was a creature of New York, but he was also a creature of Los Angeles,” said Kim Masters, managing editor of The Hollywood Reporter and longtime film industry observer. “He threw this huge Golden Globes party that was always way beyond capacity when he was in his prime. He was the king of Hollywood in New York and Los Angeles.”

It was during Oscars week in 2013, when Jennifer Lawrence was winning an Oscar for the Weinstein Co.’s “Silver Linings Playbook.” and Quentin Tarantino would win for writing the company’s “Django Unchained,” which took four of the 11 alleged crimes. position.

Like most of the incidents in the indictments, they occurred under the guise of business meetings at luxury hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, which Weinstein used as his California headquarters and where he could be seen during awards season and throughout the year. He was treated as more than a VIP. At a preliminary hearing, the chauffeur who drove Weinstein to Los Angeles testified that even he was allowed to pick up up to $1,000 in cash in Weinstein’s name from the front desk of the hotel where the mogul was staying.

By the time stories about him in The New York Times and The New Yorker in October 2017 brought his downfall, Weinstein’s power to ostensibly want movies to win awards had diminished and his company had fallen into financial trouble.

“His stature changed, he wasn’t the king of the Oscars anymore, which made him really vulnerable,” Masters said.

The Los Angeles trial is likely to be far less of a spectacle than the New York proceedings, and not just because it’s a continuation and Weinstein is already serving a long sentence.

Foot traffic is sparse and there is no grand entrance to the downtown Los Angeles courthouse that hosts the trial. Weinstein won’t be visible to any hordes of media or protesters outside, as he was in Manhattan, as he will be led into the courtroom straight from the jail — once he’s changed out of prison clothes into a suit — down a short hallway where no there are cameras allowed that could capture him.

Only a dozen reporters, including two sketch artists, will be allowed into the small courtroom each day, compared with several dozen in New York.

Weinstein will also be represented by separate Los Angeles attorneys Alan Jackson and Mark Werksman. They have expressed concerns that the films may play a role in the trial.

The movie “She Said,” which fictionalizes the work of two New York Times reporters and their stories about Weinstein, is set to be released midway through the trial on Nov. 18.

Weinstein’s lawyers lost an attempt to delay proceedings over the film, with the judge rejecting their argument that publicity surrounding it would prejudice a potential jury against him.

“This case is unique,” Werksman said at a pretrial hearing. “Mr. Weinstein’s reputation and place in our culture at the center of the storm that is the #MeToo movement is real, and we are trying to do everything we can to avoid a test when there is a swirl of adverse publicity against him. his”.

Weinstein’s trial is one of several #MeToo connections that have begun or are about to begin as the fifth anniversary of the movement’s biggest moment passes, including the rape trial of “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson just below the room from the Weinstein’s. and Kevin Spacey’s sexual assault trial in New York.

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