How ‘She Said’ and a New York Appeal Could Impact His Case

Harvey Weinstein will face a second rape and sexual assault trial in Los Angeles this week, days after the film’s premiere. movie about The New York Times show up that uncovered his long history of sexual harassment.

The disgraced movie mogul served a 23-year sentence after he was found guilty of rape and sexual assault in New York in February 2020. That case focused on two women: Miriam Haley, a production assistant who said Weinstein sexually assaulted sex with her in his New York City apartment in 2006, and Jessica Mann, a former actress, says he raped her in a New York hotel room in 2013.

In total, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment or rape. In his report, The New York Times revealed that he has settled with at least eight of them.

The new case, which will be heard in Los Angeles Superior Court, stems from allegations made by five additional women, who remain unnamed in court documents.

The grand jury first returned the indictment against Weinstein on March 15, 2021, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. That June, a New York judge approved the extradition of Weinstein to Los Angeles so he could face additional charges. He was transferred from the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown LA in July 2021.

The case will be heard until the end of November amid related issues that may affect the proceedings: the release of the film She speaks, starring Carey Mulligan and executive produced by Brad Pitt; Weinstein’s bad health; and an ongoing appeal in the aforementioned New York case.

Weinstein has plead not guilty to all chargeswhile his attorney Mark Werksman continues to deny them.

Werksman told The Daily Beast: “We’re going to have a strong trial where a lot of these issues will be detailed. “We are confident that once the jury hears the details of these allegations, they will find that they didn’t happen or they were fabricated, or they didn’t happen the way they said they were.”

Photo by Etienne Laurent / AFP via Getty Images

The LA County District Attorney’s office did not respond to questions from The Daily Beast.

What are the new fees?

Weinstein, 70, is facing 11 counts of sexual assault in Los Angeles County, which carries a maximum sentence of 140 years in prison.

The charges include four counts of forcible oral copulation, four counts of forcible rape, two counts of sexual provocation by restraint and one count of penetration with a foreign object. The allegations revolved around five different women that Weinstein allegedly abused at different times over a period of nearly a decade, from 2004 to 2013.

Judge Lisa B. Lench of the LA Superior Court is overseeing the trial.

The eight-page indictment document includes some details about the individual charges except when they occurred and the nature of the alleged crimes.

For example, on the count of four, Weinstein said that “intentionally and illegally [touched] an intimate part of Jane Doe #2, while a person is alleged to have been unlawfully restrained by defendant Harvey Weinstein, against the will of the speaker, and for the purpose of sexual gratification or gratification. or sexual abuse. “

The district attorney’s office went into more detail in a press release after the indictment was announced.

The office said: “The defendant is accused of raping a woman at a hotel between September 2004 and September 2005. He is also accused of raping another woman on two separate occasions last month. November 2009 and November 2010 at a hotel in Beverly Hills”. “Weinstein is also accused of sexually assaulting another woman at a Beverly Hills hotel in May 2010 and charged with sexually assaulting two women in separate incidents in 2013.”

In Monday, LA time reported that one of the accusers who will testify against Weinstein is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Siebel Newsom’s attorney, Elizabeth Fegan, confirms TimesThe Daily Beast reported 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 plans to testify at his trial to seek some measure of justice for the survivors, and as part of her life’s work to improve women’s lives. Please respect her choice not to discuss the matter outside the courtroom.

What will happen from the new trial

The trial, which gets underway on Monday with jury selection, is expected to last about two weeks.

“It will be a Herculean mission to find jurors with no criminal record in the case, who are not contaminated by pre-trial and news publicity, who are not paying those who are appointed. presumed innocent,” said Randy Zelin, a criminal defense attorney and professor at Cornell Law School. “Can anyone say bluntly in the jury selection, ‘I look at him now and he’s innocent? “”

Witness testimony is expected to begin around October 24, with the entire trial likely to last around six to eight weeks, possibly extending into early December.

It will be a Herculean mission to find jurors with no criminal record in the case who are not contaminated by publicity and pre-trial news who are not paying for lip service. presumption of innocence.

Randy Zelin, criminal defense attorney and professor at Cornell Law School

The DA’s office is still deciding whether to include facts about Haley, one of the accusers who helped secure Weinstein’s conviction in New York, as part of their evidence in the Los Angeles trial. no, Werksman said.

While Haley’s abuse took place in New York, California prosecutors were allowed to present additional evidence of other sex crimes to establish evidence of stereotyping, even if they were outside their jurisdiction. of the court. However, the New York Court of Appeals put a wrench into that plan in August, when it approved Weinstein on an appeal that is expected to begin next year, according to NBC News. If Haley’s testimony was used in a trial in LA, but later overturned in New York, it has the potential to compromise the integrity of any convictions that may occur in LA.

“If I were a prosecutor, I would worry about how much other ‘bad practice’ evidence I’m bringing and above all the charges based on what the New York Court of Appeals can do. It’s a reversal in waiting,” said Zelin.

Meanwhile, presenting a possible problem for defense is the film She speaks, starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as NYT journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, premiered this week at the New York Film Festival and is scheduled for a nationwide release on November 18, Kantor and Twohey’s watershed article 2017 uncovered Weinstein’s long-standing stereotype of predatory behavior and the payment of sexual harassment abusers, and made Hollywood take into account that the #MeToo movement brings justice, be it legal or reputational , for several well-known sexual harassers in the following years. Among them is actor Kevin Spacey, who currently facing battery charges and emotional distress in a civil case against him by Rent actor Anthony Rapp.

Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

Werksman had previously asked Lench to delay the trial, arguing that the release and publicity of the film would “substantially compromise the possibility of a fair trial,” according to Diversity. Lench rejected that offer, saying, “I am not continuing the trial. We will have to deal with it. “

Weinstein’s team is aware that public opinion is turning against the producer, whose biggest titles include British patient, Pulp Fiction, Goodwill to huntand New york gang.

“Unfortunately, a political and social movement has stirred public opinion, making it almost impossible for Weinstein’s story to be heard,” said Juda Engelmayer, a Weinstein spokeswoman. “The Los Angeles trial is more of a similarity and we can only hope that Harvey will get a chance to testify and deliver the story and facts that he knows are true.”

On top of that, Weinstein’s health was deteriorating. The former head of Miramax is frequently in court in a wheelchair and is said to have lost sight in one eye.

Weinstein addressed the court directly in a hearing last month in which he asked to see a dentist after claiming he was unhappy with the oral care options available in prison.

“I am in pain every day. I have tooth decay and I can’t eat because I have lost my teeth,” he said, according to much shop. The judge ordered Werksman to request a dental exam in writing.

All in all, Zelin believes that Weistein’s legal team is raising hopes that an appeals court will find flaws in the LA trial.

“I believe the defense will file an appeal, which means Weinstein will not testify and the defense will seek to document the errors for appellate review,” he said. “The prosecutor will play not to lose. The case doesn’t have the same appeal as the New York trial. “

– Pilar Melendez contributed reporting


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