Prosecutor Paints Weinstein As ‘Sexual Predator’ In Opening Statement

WCBS 880 Newsroom
January 22, 2020 - 2:40 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Harvey Weinstein’s rape and sexual assault trial began Wednesday in lower Manhattan, two years after the accusations against him sparked the #MeToo movement.

In a scathing opening statement, New York Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast provided vivid descriptions of several sexual attacks allegedly committed by Weinstein.

She went on to described the disgraced movie mogul as a savvy Hollywood producer who was also a “sexual predator and a rapist.”

Hast described in graphic detail one alleged instance in which Weinstein violently raped “Sopranos” actress Annabelle Sciorra in her Gramercy Park apartment in the winter of 1993.

She also described how the 67-year-old gained the trust of Miriam Haley, a young production assistant, whom he allegedly raped in 2006.

According to WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond, Weinstein sat passively with no expression on his face.

Defense attorney Damon Cheronis began as he previously said he would, by showing emails from key witnesses who reportedly bragged about sex with Weinstein.

He also brought an email from one woman who sent emails about wanting Weinstein to meet her mother, weeks after the alleged assault happened.

Cheronis then asked the jury to use their “New York common sense” in determining if these emails were sent by a woman who felt frightened and victimized.

Prosecutor Joan Illuzi previously called the characterization of the “loving” emails “blatantly inaccurate,” and argued that some of the emails may ultimately be ruled inadmissible during the trial.

The trial finally got underway after a lengthy jury selection process and multiple attempts from the defense to have jurors and the judge removed, as well as a requested change of venue. All requests were denied.

Weinstein is accused of raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulting another in 2006.

If convicted at a trial expected to last into March, he could face life in prison.

Los Angeles prosecutors also announced new charges in a separate case against Weinstein. Those charges accuse him of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another woman there on back-to-back nights in 2013, days before he walked the Oscars with his then-wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, who was pregnant at the time.

Weinstein has not entered a plea in the Los Angeles case, which will be tried later.