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Newsletter: A landmark #MeToo moment

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein outside court during his rape trial in New York.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press )

Harvey Weinstein’s conviction in a New York courtroom isn’t the end of his legal peril.

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A Landmark #MeToo Moment

Harvey Weinstein looked around as if confused when a pair of handcuffs clicked onto his wrists after a Manhattan jury handed down its verdict. Convicted of one count of committing a criminal sexual act and one count of rape, the former Hollywood power player could spend the rest of his life in a prison cell.

After his March sentencing, Weinstein, 69, faces further legal jeopardy in Los Angeles, where Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey has filed four counts of sexual assault against him. Legal experts say the New York verdict will probably help L.A. prosecutors secure a conviction against Weinstein, who has denied any wrongdoing despite claims of sexual assault and misconduct from more than 80 women since 2017. He was acquitted on two counts of predatory sexual assault.

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Weinstein’s conviction serves as a key moment in the #MeToo movement, which resulted in some changes in Hollywood and other industries. “For once, he won’t be sitting comfortably,” said actress Rose McGowan, who has claimed Weinstein raped her in 1997. “For once, he will know what it’s like to have power wrapped around his neck.”

Remembering Kobe and Gigi

Vanessa Bryant took the stage in front of about 20,000 people in Staples Center to talk about two loves in her life: her 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and her husband, Kobe, one of the greatest basketball players of all time. With tears in her eyes, but a steadfast voice, she spoke of him as a fierce competitor on the basketball court. But to this young widow, “he was Kobe-Kobe, my boo-boo, my bay-boo, my papi chulo.”

For more that two hours, his memory was alive in a memorial service filled with basketball royalty, entertainment icons and roses. But Vanessa’s eulogy captured the moment. Read all of the tributes here.

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The Red Heart of California

Whether you’re seeing the billboards along Route 99 or listening to the radio, it’s pretty clear that California’s Central Valley is a bastion of red-state politics. At its heart is Rep. Devin Nunes’ 22nd Congressional District — one of just seven districts in California that’s still in GOP hands. And as Democrats prepare to make their voices heard in the March 3 primary, there’s a certain sense of bemusement among many Central Valley Republicans. Even so, the region’s political balance of power is changing.

More Politics

— When Sen. Bernie Sanders takes the stage or gets behind a microphone, he seldom surprises. But the members of his eclectic troop of surrogates do — and it’s created a few awkward moments for his campaign.

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— A federal appeals court, divided along party lines, has upheld a new Trump administration rule denying family planning grants to clinics that make referrals for abortion.

— President Trump emerged from a pair of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday citing progress toward a long-sought trade deal but offering no details. Elsewhere in the Indian capital, clashes between Hindus and Muslims broke out in several neighborhoods, killing at least seven people.

Coronavirus Fears Spread

The Dow Jones industrials plunged more than 1,000 points in a stock market rout yesterday, its worst day in two years, amid concerns that the spreading coronavirus is seriously disrupting the global economy. On a percentage basis, the 3.56% pullback was nowhere near the worst ever. Concerns have grown amid reports that the virus had worsened in countries such as South Korea, Italy — where the virus has hit the wealthy, industrial northern heartland — and Iran. In response, the White House sent lawmakers an urgent $2.5-billion plan to address the deadly outbreak.

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Meanwhile, a federal judge has ordered federal, state and local officials to meet by the end of the week to sort out information surrounding the potential use of the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa as a quarantine site, which the city is fighting.

A Town Gives In to the Ocean

Not much of California’s coast feels like Marina anymore, with no pavement right up to high tide. With sea level rise, the mere suggestion of making room for the ocean and turning prime real estate into open space has proven political suicide in other cities. But this town not far from Silicon Valley wants to show how it’s done.

Marina has forbidden sea walls and embraced the policy of managed retreat. A sand mine is finally shutting down after a century of dredging away the coast. Locals are still fighting efforts to build a desalination plant. “We’re not going to lament that our predecessors didn’t take this seriously,” says its mayor. ”We’re not going to wait until emergencies happen to take action.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and Angelenos were sure the war would soon come to them. On Feb. 25, the Japanese finally arrived for the “Battle of Los Angeles.” The Times wrote in 1992 that sirens began at 2:25 a.m., “when the U.S. Army announced the approach of hostile aircraft, and the city’s air raid warning system went into action for the first time in the war.”

Two people had heart attacks; three more died in car crashes during the blackout. Vehicles were riddled with bullet holes; anti-aircraft shells demolished garages and patios. But when morning arrived, the damage was revealed to be self-inflicted: There had been no “hostile aircraft.” The battle wasn’t real. At the war’s end, the Army determined weather balloons had been mistaken for aircraft.

Officer Bobby Clark reaches into a hole caused by a dud antiaircraft shell in a driveway in Santa Monica on Feb. 25, 1942. The shell was recovered.
(Pacific Press)

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CALIFORNIA

— As “Death Valley Jim,” Jim Mattern made a name selling tours and hyping up the Mojave Desert. Authorities and his ex-wife say it was all a ruse.

— Could composting your dearly departed help save the planet? One L.A. lawmaker says yes and is pushing the state to allow it.

— For nearly two months, a pair of bald eagles in the San Bernardino National Forest have watched vigilantly over two eggs. Officials say the eggs aren’t likely to hatch.

— A group of students protested at Long Beach Polytechnic High School in support of Myriam Gurba, the teacher who sparked backlash against the novel “American Dirt.” She was recently placed on administrative leave and escorted from the school.

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— Fallen opera star Plácido Domingo has released a statement to The Times apologizing for the behavior that led to a series of sexual harassment allegations last summer and culminated in his resignation as general manager of Los Angeles Opera in October. The statement came as the Associated Press reported the American Guild of Musical Artists was preparing to release findings of an ongoing investigation.

— For years, Netflix has carefully guarded information about viewership. Now the streaming service says it will reveal its top 10 movies and TV shows in a daily list.

— The most in-demand bartender in Los Angeles the other night was “The Farewell” director Lulu Wang. She took fan questions while serving drinks, a new twist on a Q-and-A session.

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— Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty to charges that were dropped, then restored. He’s accused of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself.

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are back. The former “Project Runway” hosts are teaming up on a new reality show for Amazon, where viewers will also be able to buy the clothes featured.

NATION-WORLD

— Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a cautious head of state who for decades kept a cold peace with Israel and crushed political dissent at home until a 2011 protest movement overwhelmed his security forces and drove him from power, died on Tuesday. He was 91.

— The Supreme Court will decide another clash between religion and gay rights, a case that centers on Philadelphia’s termination of a contract with Catholic Social Services over its refusal to place foster children with same-sex couples.

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— An investigative journalist defending himself against a hostile U.S. president, or a criminal who put the lives of secret sources at risk? At WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London, the U.S. is arguing he’s the latter.

Mars may look dry and dusty from the outside, but it has a surprisingly vibrant inner life, per new findings from NASA’s quake-hunting mission.

— Mathematician Katherine Johnson has died at 101. She worked on NASA’s early space missions and was portrayed in the film “Hidden Figures.”

BUSINESS

— OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has launched an ad campaign to tell people harmed by the drug that they can file claims against the company.

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— Your Tesla could explain why it crashed. But good luck getting its Autopilot data — it’s recorded on the company’s servers, and Tesla isn’t giving it up, according to a new lawsuit.

SPORTS

— UCLA’s men’s basketball team is the hottest in the Pac-12. But to save Mick Cronin’s NCAA tournament streak, it needs a big finish.

— The Dodgers’ Andrew Friedman has a methodical approach that dugout leaders appreciate.

OPINION

— The #MeToo movement let victims be heard. The Weinstein verdict tells them they can be believed, the editorial board writes.

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— Candidates love the “ethnic food” photo op, but columnist Frank Shyong writes there are better ways to reach voters of color.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Before Harvey Weinstein’s trial, there was the investigation that helped set off a cultural movement. (New York Times)

— Leggings company LuLaRoe promised women a path to success with social media and leggings. For many, it ended in financial ruin. (BuzzFeed News)

— In San Quentin, getting the flu can land prisoners in solitary confinement — so they avoid admitting they’re sick. (The Appeal)

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ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Poor Mt. Disappointment. High in the San Gabriel Mountains, its neighbors include Josephine Peak, named for the wife of a USGS surveyor, and Mt. Markham, named after a former governor. So how did Mt. Disappointment end up with such an unflattering name? Because it was a brutal hike. A group conducting a survey of the West 150 years ago scrambled to the top, only to find it wasn’t the high point they were looking for. Read the full saga here.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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