New Weinstein trial to begin in Los Angeles, five years after shocking report

The disgraced producer, already poised to spend a lifetime in prison, faces 11 additional sexual assault charges five years after shocking reports that ended his career, disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein will stand trial in Los Angeles on Monday over a series of alleged sexual assaults involving five different women. This is the second trial of the former Hollywood titan, who has been incarcerated since February 2020 when he was convicted of sexual assault and rape in proceedings in New York.

Authorities extradited Weinstein to California last year to face 11 additional sexual assault charges over alleged assaults that took place between 2004 and 2013, including forced rape, forced oral intercourse, sexual battery with restraint and sexual penetration with the use of force. While Weinstein is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison, Jamie White, a lawyer representing survivors of Larry Nassar, the United States Gymnastics doctor who suffered serial sexual abuse of young girls and women has rocked the gymnastics world, said it was important that there was accountability for all victims. ” These victims deserve to be held accountable, " he said. “This is the accountability we expect from our civil servants to emerge when there are victims involved.”

Gloria Allred echoed her comments. “There is no limit to the number of prosecutions which is sufficient evidence to justify prosecutions elsewhere of the same defendant,” the lawyer, who represents the three women testifying in the upcoming trial, said in an interview with Variety. “It's about seeking justice for them,” she said of the women affected.

Weinstein's Los Angeles trial comes half a decade after the first reports of extensive allegations against him sparked a movement, leading women around the world to come forward about the abuse they face at the hands of powerful men. The #MeToo movement began in 2017 after the New York Times and New Yorker revealed Weinstein's long history of sexual misconduct, with accounts from actors like Ashley Judd, and how his powerful status in Hollywood allowed him to harass women without consequence for decades. .

There have long been whispers about the behavior of the film mogul, whose company is behind films like Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare in Love, but the stories shed light on how Weinstein's team of lawyers, private detectives and hired advisers helped silence the accusers. from actor to production assistant. In the weeks following the first revelations, nearly 90 women have come forward accusing Weinstein of inappropriate behavior and sexual assault in incidents that occurred in the 1970s.

Weinstein's 2020 trial in New York on charges of raping two women marked a pivotal moment in the #MeToo movement that saw others testify about their experiences, including Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, who said the producer raped her in the early 1990s. The jury found Weinstein guilty of rape in the third degree and criminal sex acts in the first degree for forcing oral sex on Miriam Haley, a former Project Runway production assistant. A judge sentenced him to 23 years in prison.

However, Weinstein, now 70 years old, has long maintained his innocence. He recently sought to have his sentence in New York overturned, but a five-judge panel upheld that ruling. The state's highest court, however, has agreed to allow Weinstein to appeal the conviction. Weinstein's trial in Los Angeles comes at a critical time for the #MeToo movement. The case is one of several to play out across America this month, including the trials of actors Kevin Spacey and Danny Masterson as well as director Paul Haggis. It also follows a high-profile process this year that saw a jury order actor Amber Heard to pay her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, $ 10 million for defamation after she wrote about her experience speaking out against violence against women.

In the years since Weinstein's revelations, some have argued that the movement has gone too far, said White, the lawyer. Weinstein should not benefit from the idea, he continued, adding that there has been notable progress in the years since the movement began.

“We are seeing legislation across the country changing. There has been tremendous progress. There is still a lot to do, ”White said. “We need to make sure this policy changes and this temperament and that we don't go back to our old ways.”

Weinstein has denied the allegations against him. "All of the allegations against Mr. Weinstein are fabricated, or they result from consensual sexual relations that his accusers now mistake for sexual assault," Weinstein's attorney Mark Werksman said in a statement.

The lawyer added that Weinstein was unwell, unable to walk, and had several infected teeth because he could not receive proper dental care at the Los Angeles county Jail. Jury selection for Weinstein's Los Angeles trial began on Monday. If found guilty of the charges, he faces up to 140 years in prison.

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