Harvey Weinstein’s new trial begins in Los Angeles
The new trial for rape and sexual assault of Harvey Weinstein, the former Hollywood mogul, opened Monday in Los Angeles with the selection of jurors.
The 70-year-old producer of pulp Fiction has already been convicted in New York, where he has been serving a 23-year prison sentence since 2020 for sexual assault and rape.
This new trial coincides almost to the day with the fifth anniversary of the #MeToo movement, triggered by revelations about his behavior as a sexual predator.
Harvey Weinstein appeared in a Los Angeles courthouse in a wheelchair on Monday, wearing a dark blue suit and light blue tie. He is due to appear there for the next two months.
Jury selection, which could span the first week, began Monday under the supervision of Judge Lisa Lench.
He faces 11 charges for alleged acts committed on five women in hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles between 2004 and 2013.
If found guilty, Harvey Weinstein – who has pleaded not guilty to all counts – could be sentenced to more than 100 additional years behind bars.
A trap »
His conviction in March 2020 in New York, followed by an immediate imprisonment and whose appeal was rejected, was a major victory for the #MeToo movement.
In total, nearly 90 women, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosanna Arquette have accused Harvey Weinstein of harassment, sexual assault or rape. But the statute of limitations has been exceeded in many of these cases, some dating back to 1977.
The ex-producer is also charged in the United Kingdom for sexual assaults which date back to 1996.
Among the five accusers – all of whom will appear in Los Angeles as “Jane Doe” – is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom, according to the Los Angeles Times.
« Like many other women, my client was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein during an alleged business meeting that turned out to be a trap, » her lawyer Elizabeth Fegan told the newspaper.
“She intends to testify during her trial in order to obtain some form of justice for the victims and to improve the condition of women,” she added. Siebel Newsom, a film producer, previously wrote about Mr Weinstein’s behavior in a 2017 essay, but she did not elaborate on the alleged assaults.
According to Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer, Mark Werksman, quoted by the Los Angeles Times, well-known personalities, seen “in films, in advertisements”, will testify during the trial.
The former producer has always assured that all his accusers were consenting.
The allegations are “unproven, not credible and unsubstantiated,” Mark Werksman told reporters in July 2021, arguing that there was no forensic evidence or credible witnesses to back them up.
Mr. Weinstein’s retrial also coincides with the film’s premiere She Said, which will be presented next week at the New York Film Festival and which retraces the investigation of the two journalists of the New York Times on the grip and misdeeds of the all-powerful producer.
Before his fall, his influence on Hollywood was immense. Over the years, films produced by Mr. Weinstein, such as Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino, received more than 300 Oscar nominations and 81 statuettes.