Is Harvey Weinstein toast from coast to coast? His long-awaited trial in New York City on charges of sexual assault began today, with the disgraced film mogul using a walker to enter the courtroom. Just as those proceedings got underway, prosecutors on the other side of the country formally charged Weinstein with charges relating to two victims after a lengthy investigation:
Harvey Weinstein will be charged with two counts of sexual assault in Los Angeles, deepening the legal peril faced by the fallen Hollywood mogul as his trial on similar charges in New York City was expected to begin this month.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has filed charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint, according to a news release issued Monday morning. Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey is expected to hold a press conference at 11 a.m. in downtown Los Angeles.
“We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit crimes against them,” Lacey said in a statement. “I want to comment the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them.”
This might not be the end of the matter in Los Angeles, either. District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced at a presser that they continue to investigate allegations from three more potential victims that have claims within the statutes of limitation. Prosecutors have been working on a number of claims since launching a task force in late 2017 to investigate Weinstein.
And not just Weinstein, apparently. The LAPD’s chief told the presser that the probe has expanded beyond Weinstein to investigate sexual predation in the “Hollywood entertainment industry.” There had been some indication that Kevin Spacey might be a target of investigations, but there may be more than a few people in Tinseltown have good reason to worry — and many more who may have reason to cheer.
Lacey also announced that they would request a bail of $5 million for Weinstein, similar to what Weinstein has in his New York case. That’s an awful lot of capital that will get tied up in staying out of the hoosegow, especially for someone whose studio is basically worthless at the moment.
Don’t expect Weinstein to show up any time soon in LA, regardless of bail conditions. He’s having a tough enough time showing up in New York City, where his trial opened today with discussion over motions and preparations for voir dire:
Harvey Weinstein arrived at a Manhattan courthouse Monday for the opening of his sex crimes trial as his lawyers and prosecutors prepared to begin selecting a jury in the first celebrity #MeToo case to open in a criminal court.
Using a walker after back surgery two weeks ago, Weinstein, 67, was escorted into the courthouse surrounded by his security team and his lawyers, including lead defense attorney Donna Rotunno. He was met by a crowd of reporters and cameras as he arrived for what many consider a historic trial.
He wore a blackish-gray suit and sported some light gray stubble. In the courtroom, he talked to his lawyers flanking him at the defense table. When the proceeding before Judge James Burke began, he walked to the front of the courtroom to say his name. He was almost exaggeratedly hunched over and walked slowly.
Monday’s proceedings adjourned before noon after arguments over pretrial publicity and discussions about jury selection, scheduled to begin Tuesday. Weinstein left the courtroom, mostly expressionless and once again hunched over his walker.
“Almost exaggeratedly.” Yeah, I’ll bet. Meanwhile, as not much of consequence happened inside the courtroom, Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette led a demonstration outside:
Everyone’s just warming up for the big event after a jury gets seated. That is, if they can find a jury of twelve people plus a few alternates that haven’t already made up their minds about Big Harv. Good luck with that.