Harvey Weinstein’s Los Angeles sexual assault trial begins


Five years after the women created stories about him The #MeToo movement is explodingHarvey Weinstein goes on trial in Los Angeles, the city where he was once an Oscar colossus.

Already serving a 23-year sentence convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York, the 70-year-old former movie mogul faces a variety of charges, including several that prosecutors say took place during a crucial Oscars week in LA jury selection for the eight-week trial that begins Monday.

Weinstein was accused on four counts of rape and seven other counts of sexual assault involving five women who will appear in court as Jane Does to tell their stories. He was not guilty. The alleged sexual assaults spanned from 2004 to 2013 and most of them took place in hotel rooms in LA and Beverly Hills, prosecutors said.

Four other women will be allowed to take the stand to testify about Weinstein’s sexual assaults, which have not led to charges but which prosecutors hope will show jurors that he had a propensity to commit such acts.

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

Getty Images

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

In August, a New York judge granted Weinstein’s request to appeal against the judgment.

In June, British prosecutors also accused Weinstein with the sexual assault of a woman in 1996.

Starting in the 1990s, Weinstein, through Miramax, the company he ran with his brother, was an innovator in running broad and aggressive campaigns promoting Oscar contenders. He’s had unparalleled success, pushing films like “Shakespeare in Love” and “The Artist” to Best Picture wins and becoming one of the most thanked men during Oscar acceptance speeches.

Miramax and its successor The Weinstein Co. they were based in New York, where Weinstein lived and did business, 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, editor of The Hollywood Reporter and a longtime observer of the film industry. “He had this huge Golden Globes party that was always beyond the pale in his heyday. He was the king of Hollywood in New York and LA.”

It was during the 2013 Academy Awards week that Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for Weinstein Co.’s “Silver Linings Playbook.” and Quentin Tarantino won for writing the company’s “Django Unchained,” where four of the 11 alleged crimes took off. place.

Like most of the incidents in the indictment, they took place under the guise of business meetings at luxury hotels in Beverly Hills and LA, which Weinstein used as his California headquarters and where he could be seen during awards season and throughout the year. He was treated like more than a VIP. At a pretrial hearing, the driver who drove Weinstein around Los Angeles testified that he, too, was allowed to take 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 caused his downfall in October 2017, Weinstein’s ability to seemingly want movies to win awards had diminished and his company was in financial trouble.

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

The trial in Los Angeles is likely to be much less of a spectacle than the trial in New York, not least because it is a continuation and Weinstein is already serving a long sentence.

Foot traffic is sparse and there is no grand entrance to the downtown LA courthouse where the trial is held. Weinstein will not be visible to any of the media hordes or protesters outside, as he was in Manhattan, because he will be ushered into the courtroom directly from the jail — once he’s changed out of prison garb and into a suit — through a short hallway where there are no cameras. he allowed himself to be captured.

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

Weinstein will also be represented by various Los Angeles attorneys, Alan Jackson and Mark Werksman. They expressed concern that movies may play a role in the process.

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

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

“This case is unique,” Werksman said in a preliminary hearing. “Mr. Weinstein’s notoriety and his place in our culture at the center of the firestorm that is the #MeToo movement is real, and we are doing everything we can to avoid a lawsuit when adverse publicity swirls. to him.”

The Weinstein trial is one of several with #MeToo connections that have begun or will begin as the fifth anniversary of the movement’s biggest moment passes, including the rape trial of “The ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson just down the hall from Weinstein, and a civil trial with Kevin Spacey for sexual assault in New York.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here