Harvey Weinstein charged with sexual assault in Los Angeles

Harvey Weinstein arrives at NY court
Using a walking frame, Harvey Weinstein arrives for his trial on sexual assault charges

Harvey Weinstein has been charged with sexual assault in Los Angeles on the same day he appeared in a New York court in a separate case.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said the charges related to the alleged sexual assault of two women in 2013.

If convicted, he could face up to 28 years in prison.

The film producer earlier appeared in a New York court, where he faces separate charges of rape and sexual assault.

Jury selection began on Monday, with the trial expected to begin properly in about two weeks.

He has said all his relationships were consensual but admitted that he had “caused a lot of pain”.

His lawyers have vowed to mount an aggressive defence against the allegations, which spurred the #MeToo and Times Up movements against sexual impropriety.

“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,” Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement.

“I want to commend the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them,” she added. “It is my hope that all victims of sexual violence find strength and healing as they move forward.”

What are the latest charges?

LA County prosecutors charged Mr Weinstein with allegedly raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013.

On 18 February 2013, Mr Weinstein went to a hotel and raped a woman after pushing his way inside her room, prosecutors said.

A day later, prosecutors said, Mr Weinstein assaulted a woman at a hotel suite in Beverly Hills.

The charges against Mr Weinstein include forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.

Prosecutors are recommending bail be set at $5m (£3.7m).

What happened in New York on Monday?

Jury selection – the first stage of the trial – started in at the court in Manhattan.

Once one of Hollywood’s most decorated producers, Mr Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 80 women, but faces charges related to only two in New York.

The five charges include rape and sexual assault, and could see Mr Weinstein jailed for life if convicted.

Using a walking frame and wearing a black suit, Mr Weinstein hobbled into the courthouse, where dozens of protesters holding signs with slogans such as “justice for survivors” had gathered.

Inside the court, the pre-trial proceedings were marked by a number of sharp exchanges between the state prosecutors and the movie producer’s defence team.

In particular, there were tensions over the defence’s treatment of witnesses. Judge James Burke ordered Mr Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno to refrain from talking about witnesses, after she was accused of humiliating and degrading them, which she denied.

Outside the courthouse, some of his accusers, including actresses Rosanna Arquette and Rose McGowan, demanded that Mr Weinstein be held accountable.

Addressing Mr Weinstein, Ms McGowan – who alleges she was raped by the movie producer – said: “You brought this upon yourself by hurting so many. You have only yourself to blame.”

Source: bbc.co.uk

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