Harvey Weinstein’s 2nd sexual assault trial begins with eight accusers set to testify, prosecutors say


Eight girls who say they had been sexually assaulted by film producer Harvey Weinstein will testify at his prison trial in Los Angeles over the approaching weeks, prosecutors stated in opening statements Monday.

“Each of these women came forward independent of each other, and none of them knew one another,” prosecutor Paul Thompson informed the jury, in line with a pool report.

4 of the ladies’s testimony can be instantly related to particular expenses. These girls embrace Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker and the spouse of California Gov. Gavin Newsom; Jane Doe 1, a mannequin and actress who lived in Italy on the time; Jane Doe 2, a 23-year-old mannequin and aspiring screenwriter; and Jane Doe 3, a licensed therapeutic massage therapist, in line with a pool report.

The latest indictment within the case indicated there have been 5 girls instantly related to expenses. CNN is working to make clear the distinction between that indictment and the prosecutors’ opening statements.

As well as, 4 girls will testify as “prior bad acts” witnesses, which means their testimony isn’t associated to a particular cost however can be utilized by the jury as prosecutors attempt to present Weinstein had a sample in his actions. These girls will testify about assaults exterior of Los Angeles jurisdiction, Thompson stated.

Weinstein, 70, has pleaded not responsible to expenses together with rape and forcible oral copulation associated to incidents courting from 2004 to 2013, in line with the indictment.

In court docket Monday, he appeared hunched over as he clambered from a wheelchair right into a chair on the protection desk. Carrying a go well with and tie, he primarily checked out jurors all through the proceedings.

The trial in California is his second such sexual assault case since reporting by The New York Instances and The New Yorker in 2017 revealed Weinstein’s alleged historical past of sexual abuse, harassment and secret settlements as he used his affect as a Hollywood energy dealer to make the most of younger girls.

On the time, Weinstein was one of the vital highly effective males in Hollywood and helped produce films resembling “Pulp Fiction,” “Clerks” and “Shakespeare in Love.”

The revelations led to a wave of ladies talking publicly concerning the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and harassment in what turned generally known as the #MeToo motion.

Weinstein was discovered responsible in 2020 in New York of first-degree prison sexual act and third-degree rape and was sentenced to 23 years in jail. But he has maintained his innocence, and New York’s highest court docket agreed in August to listen to his attraction within the case.

In opening statements, Thompson outlined the ladies’s accusations and famous the similarities of their tales. The ladies will testify that Weinstein lured them into non-public conferences, usually in resort rooms, after which sexually assaulted them, Thompson stated.

“I’m shaking and I’m kind of being dragged to the bedroom,” he quoted one lady as saying, in line with the pool report.

Thompson additionally highlighted the ladies’s understanding of Weinstein’s imposing bodily measurement in addition to his energy in Hollywood to make or break careers, the pool report stated.

“I was scared that if I didn’t play nice something could happen in the room or out of the room because of his power in the industry,” one lady stated, in line with Thompson.

The ladies allegedly informed family and friends members about their assaults, and people folks may be referred to as to testify within the trial to verify or deny such conversations.

Notably, the licensed therapeutic massage therapist informed Mel Gibson, the famed actor and director, about her assault, Thompson stated.

The trial in Los Angeles comes two years after Weinstein was convicted in New York of comparable expenses that includes totally different girls.

The New York expenses had been based mostly on testimony from Miriam Haley, who testified that Weinstein forcibly carried out oral intercourse on her in 2006 at his Manhattan residence, and from Jessica Mann, who testified that he raped her in 2013 throughout what she described as an abusive relationship.

He didn’t testify in his personal protection, however at his sentencing he provided an sudden, rambling speech which oscillated between regret, protection of his actions and confusion.

“I’m not going to say these aren’t great people, I had wonderful times with these people, you know,” Weinstein stated of the ladies who accused him of assault. “It is just I’m totally confused, and I think men are confused about all of these issues.”

The previous film producer appeared in frail well being throughout the trial and used a walker as he arrived to and left court docket every day. He used a wheelchair to reach to the sentencing in March 2020 in addition to in a court docket listening to in Los Angeles in July 2021. His attorneys have argued the prolonged jail sentence was a de facto life sentence attributable to his failing well being.