Disgraced Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein, formerly a prominent donor and friend of the Clinton family, faced the harsh prospect of justice on both sides of the country on Monday, Breitbart reported.
As Weinstein appeared for a preliminary hearing on rape and sexual assault charges in a New York City courtroom, a district attorney across the country in Los Angeles announced that Weinstein would be facing additional rape and sexual assault charges in California as well.
New criminal charges in L.A.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced on Monday that two separate incidents in a two-day period in 2013 involving two different women have resulted in four new charges of rape and sexual assault against Weinstein. The accusers are as yet unnamed, and it was noted that additional charges could also still be forthcoming.
In a prepared statement to reporters, Lacey said, “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.”
“I want to commend the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them. It is my hope that all victims of sexual violence find strength and healing as they move forward,” she added.
Trial about to commence in New York City
Meanwhile, Weinstein and his attorneys were in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday for a final procedural hearing ahead of the start of a trial on separate rape and sexual assault charges in New York.
The alleged rape occurred in 2013 in a Manhattan hotel while the sexual assault was said to have taken place in 2006.
The hearing was largely centered on several requests which were ultimately denied by the judge, such as a request for a change of venue and sequestration for the jury requested by the defense. The prosecution requested a gag order on all attorneys, intended to prevent Weinstein’s attorney from smearing the alleged victims in the media.
Following the hearing, Weinstein’s attorneys acknowledged the possibility of new and additional charges in California and continued to maintain their client’s innocence. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all charges lodged against him and has insisted that every sexual encounter he engaged in was consensual.
“A cultural reckoning”
As the New York hearing got underway, a number of Weinstein’s accusers, including actress Rose McGowan, gathered for a rally across the street from the courthouse.
In all, more than 75 women have come forward and leveled allegations of various sexual misconduct against Weinstein — ranging from mere harassment to forcible rape — following the bombshell reports in The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017 that sparked the #MeToo movement.
Sarah Ann Masse, one of Weinstein’s accusers, told reporters, “He looked cowardly. He wouldn’t look at us. He wouldn’t make eye contact,” and added, “This trial is a cultural reckoning regardless of its legal outcome.”