As His Trial Is Set To Start In New York, Harvey Weinstein Faces New Criminal Charges In LA
As his trial on rape and sexual assault charges is set to begin in New York, former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein found himself facing several new criminal charges Monday, this time in Los Angeles.
L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that her office has filed new rape and sexual assault charges against Weinstein.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another during a two-day period in 2013, Lacey said. Neither woman was identified in a statement from Lacey's office.
Specifically, Weinstein is charged with forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.
"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 a statement. "I want to commend the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them."
The DA said at a news conference that "it was very challenging to get some victims to open up," adding that her office has been working on the case "quite diligently in the past couple years."
On Feb. 18, 2013, Weinstein allegedly went to a hotel and raped a woman after pushing his way inside her room, according to the statement from Lacey's office.
It said Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting a woman the next evening at a hotel suite in Beverly Hills.
The statement said the former producer will face up to 28 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
The DA's office said Weinstein will be arraigned at a later date. Lacey said she doesn't want to interfere with the New York trial.
These are the first charges stemming from the work of a task force Lacey launched in 2017 to investigate sexual abuse allegations against high-profile figures in the entertainment industry.
The DA's office had looked into accusations against Weinstein from eight alleged victims of sexual battery or assault. Four were forwarded by the LAPD and four by Beverly Hills police.
In the New York case, Weinstein is charged with several counts of rape and sexual assault based on the accusations of Mimi Haleyi, a former production assistant for his company, and a second unidentified woman. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday, Jan. 7.
He has denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyers have argued that most of the encounters were consensual.
Weinstein's lawyer in Los Angeles, Blair Berk, and his publicist Juda Engelmayer were not immediately available for comment.
In an interview with the New York Post last month, Weinstein called himself "the forgotten man" and talked about how many women he helped during his career. In response, nearly two dozen of his accusers, including Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, sent a statement to the Los Angeles Times denouncing Weinstein as "an unrepentant abuser," saying, "we refuse to let this predator rewrite his legacy of abuse."
The producer behind such Oscar-winning hits as "Shakespeare in Love," "Chicago" and "The King's Speech," Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Co. in October 2017 after dozens of women accused him of sexual misconduct. The firm filed for bankruptcy in March 2018.
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual battery and/or assault over the past couple of years.
Last month, Weinstein, several of his accusers and the Weinstein Co.'s former board reached a tentative $47 million settlement of a lawsuit against him. If a judge approves the deal, $25 million of the amount will go to the accusers.
Weinstein is still facing a number of other civil lawsuits over alleged sexual misconduct.
Robert Garrova and Paul Glickman contributed to this report.
2:30 p.m.: This article was updated with the information about Blair Berk.