Weinstein back in court on rape and sexual assault charges – everything you need to know about the trial

US

Harvey Weinstein is facing four rape charges and seven other counts of sexual assault in Los Angeles.

Opening statements in the case are expected to begin today.

The charges are the latest in a long line of allegations against the disgraced movie mogul – previously considered Hollywood royalty, and one of the most award-winning producers in history.

The 70-year-old is already serving 23 years in prison in California for rape and sexual assault after being convicted in New York in 2020.

Here are all the details on his latest court case.

What has Weinstein been accused of?

Weinstein stands accused of 11 counts of rape and sexual assault against five women in LA and Beverley Hills between 2004 and 2013.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

If convicted on all 11 counts, Weinstein could be sentenced to up to 140 years in prison.

Who are Weinstein’s accusers?

Documentary filmmaker and actress Jennifer Siebel Newsom is one of the five women accusing Weinstein.

She appeared in small roles in dozens of films and television shows between 2002 and 2011, and has recently directed gender-focused documentaries including The Great American Lie and Fair Play. She is married to California governor Gavin Newsom.

She initially wrote about her experience with Weinstein in a 2017 essay in the Huffington Post, but revealed few details at the time.

First Partner of California Jennifer Siebel Newsom speaks as abortion rights protesters participate in nationwide demonstrations following the leaked Supreme Court opinion suggesting the possibility of overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 14, 2022. REUTERS/Aude Guerrucci
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Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Ms Newsom’s lawyer, Elizabeth Fegan, said in a statement: “Like many other women, my client was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein at a purported business meeting that turned out to be a trap.

“She intends to testify at his trial in order to seek some measure of justice for survivors, and as part of her life’s work to improve the lives of women.”

The four other women will remain anonymous and give evidence as Jane Doe.

Most of the alleged incidents, like Mrs Newsom’s, happened under the guise of business meetings at luxury hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, which Weinstein used as his California headquarters during awards season and throughout the year.

Four of the alleged attacks are said to have occurred during Oscars week 2013, where Weinstein’s hit movies Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained took home numerous statuettes.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court for his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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Weinstein was pictured with a walking frame at his previous trial

Who are the witnesses?

The initial witness list had over 270 names on, although the final list is expected to have fewer than half that number. The list has not been made public.

One witness, Barbara Schneeweiss, a producer on Project Runway and other television shows, was present in court and was told by a judge she was on call to come in at any time.

The jurors were also given a long list of names of witnesses in the coming trial, including those of the accusers, to determine whether they have any connection to them.

Read more:
Harvey Weinstein: The fall of the king of Hollywood

The prosecution will also be allowed to introduce as evidence parts of Weinstein’s New York conviction for rape and sexual assault.

One potential witness against Weinstein is Hollywood actor and director Mel Gibson after a judge ruled he can testify.

Prosecutors say Gibson, who won an Oscar for directing Braveheart, was a friend of one of the accusers.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench ruled Gibson could testify about what the friend told him about Weinstein, though the judge said she could change her mind depending on the friend’s testimony.

Will there be a jury?

It is a jury trial, and 12 jurors – nine men and three women – have been selected.

They appear to largely be aged between 40 and 70. Some appear to be older than that, and one man appears to be in his early to mid-20s.

Ten alternate jurors will also attend the full length of the trial, ready to step in and replace any of the jury of 12, should anyone become unable to serve.

They were chosen from a pool of 225 potential jurors, all of whom filled out a lengthy questionnaire.

It is understood to have contained questions including how much media coverage of Weinstein they had seen, and whether they had formed opinions from it.

There was also a question about a California law that says the testimony alone of a sexual assault victim can be sufficient evidence to convict if a juror believes them.

Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of rape and sexual assault
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Weinstein at his 2020 trial in New York

What happened during the 2020 New York trial?

Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence in California, after being extradited there following his conviction in March 2020 for assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006 and third-degree rape of Jessica Mann in 2013.

He is currently appealing these convictions.

During a landmark trial, more than 100 women, including famous actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Uma Thurman, Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct stretching back decades – fuelling the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment.

He was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault dating back to the 1990s.

Previous to his extradition to California, he was serving his sentence at Wende Correctional Facility in Buffalo, New York – a maximum security prison.

Weinstein in his heyday, pictured on a red carpet in 2015
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Weinstein in his heyday, pictured on a red carpet in 2015

How did Weinstein fall from grace?

Harvey Weinstein was once the king of Hollywood, a man with the power to make and break careers in the movies.

But in October 2017, in reports by the New York Times and the New Yorker, the Oscar-winning producer was accused of sexual misconduct by a number of women. He was also accused of reaching settlements to keep the stories quiet.

In the months that followed, dozens more women came forward to allege incidents of rape, sexual assault and harassment by Weinstein dating back decades.

Police investigations into the allegations stretched from Los Angeles to New York and London.

Weinstein admitted his behaviour had “caused a lot of pain”, but consistently denied all the sexual allegations made against him.

In September 2020, Weinstein was stripped of his CBE following his conviction.

Numerous other distinctions bestowed on Weinstein during his career – including France’s prestigious Legion of Honour – have been revoked since allegations against him first surfaced.

The multi-Oscar winner, who was responsible for blockbusters including Pulp Fiction, The English Patient, Good Will Hunting, Gangs Of New York and Shakespeare In Love, was expelled from the Academy in 2017.

They had previously nominated his work for 341 awards, earning him 81 statuettes over the last 26 years.

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