Weinstein Indicted On Sex Crime Charges In LA As NYC Trial Gets Underway

Steve Burns
January 06, 2020 - 2:10 pm
Harvey Weinstein

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was indicted on new sex crime charges in Los Angeles on Monday, the same day his trial on separate rape and sexual assault charges was set to begin in New York City.  

Weinstein has been charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a news release.

“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,” Lacey said in a statement. “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.”

Weinstein allegedly raped a woman in a hotel room on Feb. 18, 2013, after he pushed his way inside her room, prosecutors said. The next night, he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel suite.

Weinstein faces up to 28 years in state prison if he is convicted of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint. His arraignment has not yet been scheduled and prosecutors will recommend $5 million bail.

Meanwhile in New York City, prosecuters suspect the trial over allegations that kicked off the #MeToo movement will last about two months.

The 67-year-old faces charges that include first-degree rape and third-degree rape, which were brought on by two women. He 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.

Weinstein was hunched over his walker, shuffling up to the steps of the courthouse and lifted up by two burly helpers, WCBS 880's Steve Burns reported.

While the trial revolves around two women, actress Rose McGowan said they represent many more accusers.

"Today is a day for us to honor how far we've come and how much we've endured to get here," McGowan said. "We didn't have our day, but hopefully they will and we join hands with them and their victory will be our victory, their loss will be our loss."

"This trial is a cultural reckoning regardless of its legal outcome," said Sarah Ann Masse, who is part of the Silence Breakers Group at the forefront of the #MeToo movement. She said it's a victory just to see Weinstein face a judge. "It is now the job of the judge and jury to make the right decision and put this dangerous man behind bars where he can live out the rest of his days paying for his crimes."

Jurors will also hear from four other women as prosecutors look to establish a pattern of predatory behavior.

About 80 women in total have accused Weinstein of wrongdoing.

"Whatever you hear about those women in there know that there are 98 more, and probably 1,000 more that are just like them," McGowan said. "You thought you could terrorize me and others into silence, you were wrong. We rose from your ashes."

The disgraced movie mogul pleaded not guilty and says any sexual activity was consensual and faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted for two counts of predatory sexual assault.

Jury selection will begin Tuesday and lawyers are tasked with finding 12 people who promise to be fair and impartial.

Typically, jury selection lasts up to two days, but the process is expected to take at least two weeks.

"You can know who he is. You can have read all the publicity or heard it or watched it, what matters is that you're able to tell the court that you can take all of that stuff you read, heard, watched and put it aside," said CBS News legal analyst Rikkie Klieman. "We expect that this jury selection will last about 2 or 3 weeks."

The defense will look to make the case that those two encounters were consensual.

"They don't have to prove that, they just have to create doubt," Klieman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.