Harvey Weinstein’s already complex legal problems have magnified as he now faces sex assault charges in both New York and Los Angeles County.
The New York case is already underway and in some ways offers a preview of what can be expected when Weinstein comes to L.A. County to face charges. In fact, one of the women whose accusations led to charges in L.A. County is expected to first testify in the New York case. Weinstein has denied any wrongdoing.
Here is a look at the cases as they unfold on both coasts.
What is expected in New York?
Jury selection will come first. Weinstein is charged with first-degree rape, two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of first-degree sexual assault and one count of third-degree rape. Mimi Haleyi, a former production assistant for Weinstein’s company, has accused him of assaulting her in 2006. A second unidentified woman told police Weinstein also attacked her in New York in 2013.
A number of other women who have accused Weinstein of assaulting them in hotel rooms, including actress Annabella Sciorra and the model who accused the mogul of rape at Mr. C’s Beverly Hills hotel in 2013, are expected to testify at his New York trial.
One of the accusers from L.A. County is also expected to take the stand in New York.
“There are going to be cross-examinations lasting hours, if not days, of these witnesses, so good lawyers, expensive lawyers, are going to go through those transcripts with fine-tooth combs,” said Dmitriy Shakhnevich, a criminal defense attorney who now teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. “You could tell the same story to numerous parties, and it could be the truth, and I promise you I’ll find places where it looks like you’re not telling the same story twice.”
Why did the L.A. County prosecutors file now?
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey said the timing was about how the investigation unfolded.
“We were working on investigating those cases. In regard to the victims in this case and other sexual assault cases, it was very challenging to get those victims to open up and tell us what they needed to tell us,” she said. “For some, it was very embarrassing — terrifying — and so [we] told them we were just working to get the evidence we need to get to court.”
She said it “turns out that coincidentally, our case was ready to go this year, and this was the first business day we could get everyone together that we needed in order to do this.”
But she also said the New York case is a factor.
“We do not want to interfere with the New York case. The judge there will have to make a decision whether he remains out on $2-million bail as we have filed an arrest warrant. With more victims and $5-million bail, he will have to decide whether the defendant is remanded or not.”
What are the L.A. County charges?
Weinstein has been charged with four counts of sexual assault in Los Angeles County, stemming from accusations brought by a pair of women who say the mogul attacked them in hotels in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills in 2013.
Neither of the accusers has been identified publicly, though one of the women is a former model and actress who described Weinstein’s alleged assault to The Times in 2017, according to her attorney, David Ring.
She said the first assault took place at Mr. C’s Beverly Hills hotel in February 2013 after she met Weinstein briefly at the Los Angeles Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest. Weinstein “became very aggressive and demanding” while asking her to disrobe, the woman previously told The Times.
The woman said that she showed Weinstein pictures of her children and begged him to stop.
“He grabbed me by the hair and forced me to do something I did not want to do,” she said.
In a motion asking a judge to set Weinstein’s bail in Los Angeles County at $5 million, prosecutors said the woman did not immediately report the assault to police because Weinstein threatened to kill her. She did report the alleged attack to three close confidants in 2013, however, including her priest, law enforcement sources previously told The Times.
Just days later, the second accuser said she had a business meeting with Weinstein and another woman at a hotel in West Los Angeles when he convinced them to visit his hotel suite, according to the bail motion. Once upstairs, the victim “unwittingly” followed Weinstein into a bathroom and the other woman closed the door, trapping her inside, court records show.
At that point, Weinstein disrobed and showered briefly before undressing her, according to the motion. Prosecutors accused Weinstein of groping the woman while masturbating, court records show.
What is next?
Weinstein, using a walker, is back in New York court. Jury selection is next and could take several days or weeks.
He would face trial in Los Angeles County after the New York case is concluded.