Harvey Weinstein facing new charges of rape, sexual assault in Los Angeles

Date: 
January, 2020
Country: 
United States of America

Prosecutors in Los Angeles charged Harvey Weinstein on Monday with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013.

Weinstein faces new felony charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement.

"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.

The charges came hours after Weinstein appeared in a New York court for the start of his criminal trial on similar charges in a separate case.

According to the criminal complaint, Weinstein and a woman attended a Hollywood film festival on February 17, 2013, and later that night, he knocked on her hotel room door and was allowed entry into her room. Once inside, they talked briefly before he allegedly attacked the woman, forced her to perform oral sex on him, digitally penetrated her vagina and raped her, the complaint says.

She said that she did not disclose the assault because he threatened her life if she spoke, the complaint says. The charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by use relate to that incident.

On February 19, Weinstein met with a woman and her acquaintance for a business meeting at a hotel eatery in West Los Angeles, the complaint says. Weinstein persuaded the two to accompany him to his hotel suite, and one woman unwittingly followed him into the bathroom, the complaint says.

He allegedly took off his clothes and prevented her from leaving, and then he held her in place by her breast as he masturbated, the complaint says. He faces a charge of felony sexual battery by restraint for that incident, Lacey said.

Weinstein has denied all allegations of "nonconsensual sexual activity" related to the New York case and other claims made against him. In an earlier interview, Weinstein attorney Donna Rotunna said any new charges would be "highly prejudicial" to a jury in the New York case.

Once one of Hollywood's most powerful producers and gatekeepers, Weinstein's career collapsed in October 2017 after The New York Times and The New Yorker published stories detailing numerous accusations of sexual harassment and assault against him.

Since then more than 80 women have come forward with similar stories of Weinstein using his power and influence to take advantage of young female assistants and actresses over several decades. The reporting, which garnered the two outlets the Pulitzer Prize, also showed how Weinstein used his powerful team of attorneys and media allies to pressure the women into staying silent.

Source: CNN