Harvey Weinstein Hit With New Sex Crime Charges in LA as He Appears in Court Ahead of Trial

kimberly-dole
January 06, 2020 - 7:22 am
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Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced on Monday that Harvey Weinstein has been charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013 -- the announcement came just hours after he and several women who have accused him of sexual misconduct were at a Lower Manhattan courthouse ahead of his NYC trial on charges of rape and sexual assault.

Weinstein was charged with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint. Arraignment will be scheduled for a later date.

“We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit violent crimes against them,” District Attorney Lacey said. “I want to commend the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them. It is my hope that all victims of sexual violence find strength and healing as they move forward.”

On Feb. 18, 2013, Weinstein allegedly went to a hotel and raped a woman after pushing his way inside her room.

The next evening, the defendant is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a hotel suite in Beverly Hills.

Prosecutors are recommending bail be set at $5 million. If convicted as charged, the defendant faces up to 28 years in state prison.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police departments and the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.

Earlier Monday back in Manhattan, a frail-looking Weinstein entered the building leaning on a walker following recent back surgery. He had on a dark suit and messy hair.

Jury selection is set to begin on Tuesday over two years since the allegations that served as the catalyst for the #MeToo movement first received widespread public attention.

Weinstein's lawyers and prosecutors spent the morning sparring about procedural matters, including how to keep publicity surrounding the trial from influencing the jury's thinking.

The judge denied a motion to sequester jurors throughout the course of the trial.

Weinstein's lead lawyer, Donna Rotunno, said she was hopeful a fair jury could be found that wouldn't pre-judge the case.

"In this great country, you are innocent until proven guilty,'' she told reporters outside the courthouse.

The 67-year-old disgraced movie mogul faces allegations that he raped one woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.

If convicted of two counts of predatory sexual assault, the most serious charges against him, Weinstein faces a mandatory life sentence.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and says any sexual activity was consensual.

The process for choosing jurors could take a while and given the immense media attention the case has received, some potential jurors may already have their minds made up.

His lawyers  previously attempted to get the trial moved out of Manhattan, but a court rejected that.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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