Harvey Weinstein charged with sex crimes in Los Angeles as New York trial begins
Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul accused of multiple instances of sexual harassment and assault, was charged with sex crimes in Los Angeles on Monday just as he appeared in a New York court to start a rape and assault trial.
As announced by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Weinstein was charged with “raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013.” In a press release, the D.A.’s office says Weinstein allegedly went to a hotel on Feb. 18 of that year “and raped a woman after pushing his way inside her room.” The next evening, he allegedly sexually assaulted “a woman at a hotel suite in Beverly Hills.”
Weinstein, who has repeatedly denied all accusations of sexual misconduct and assault in the past, faces “one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint” for these new charges. The case remains under investigation.
“There is a potential L.A. situation going on,” Weinstein’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, told reporters in New York following the hearing, per the Associated Press. Damon Cheronis, another of his lawyers, added, “We don’t know what is going to happen. We’re hoping not. We have no control over what happens in Los Angeles or anywhere else.”
“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 the press release. “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.”
In a press conference in L.A. following the announcement of the new charges, Lacey said, “We believe the evidence will show the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then committed violent crimes against them.”
“If convicted as charged in the case,” she added, “defendant Weinstein faces up to 28 years in state prison.”
“For far too long, women and other victims have been preyed upon by primarily men, men who feel from their position of power that they can take advantage of women and that those women will remain silent,” L.A.P.D. Chief Michel Moore said.
Leaning on a walker, Weinstein appeared at a New York City courthouse, beginning his high-profile trial regarding accusations of rape and assault from several women. Rose McGowan, Rosanna Arquette, Dominique Huett, and more of his accusers were present outside, as reported by the AP. Weinstein maintains that any sexual activity was consensual and pled not guilty.