Disgraced Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein was charged in Los Angeles on Monday with several sex crimes
According to the Los Angeles District Attorney, Harvey Weinstein has been indicted in Los Angeles for sex crimes against two different women — resulting in one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint. The charges stem from two separate incidents that allegedly took place over a two-day period in February 2013.
“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. 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,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement.
The news of the charges comes mere hours after a group of Weinstein’s accusers, including Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette, gathered near a New York City courthouse where a criminal trial against Weinstein got underway today — Weinstein stands accused of raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013, and forcibly performing a sex act on another in 2006. Jury selection for that trial is slated to begin on Tuesday. In total, he’ll answer to five felony charges in New York.
Of Weinstein’s Los Angeles charges, Lacey revealed in a press conference that while neither of the two women Weinstein is being charged with assaulting has spoken publicly before, one is expected to testify during the criminal trial in New York. “Once his case is completed in New York, we expect him to appear in a courtroom in LA county to face these charges,” added Lacey.
Famed civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing accusers in New York and Los Angeles, said “Mr. Weinstein’s journey to justice is long overdue and the criminal justice system in Los Angeles is now forcing him to confront the accusers against him. Women are no longer willing to suffer in silence and are willing to testify under oath in a court of law,”
The catalyst of the #MeToo Movement, Weinstein has been accused by more than 80 women (so far) of sexual misconduct. From harassment to rape, the allegations of predatory behavior stretch back decades. Weinstein’s disturbing pattern of abuse was initially brought to light in investigative reporting by Meghan Twohey and Jodi Kantor at The New York Times and Ronan Farrow at The New Yorker. The publications have since been awarded a shared Pulitzer Prize in Public Service.
If convicted of the charges against him, Harvey Weinstein faces up to 28 years in state prison. Prosecutors are recommending bail be set at $5 million.