Los Angeles prosecutors hit disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein with two new sex-crime charges on Monday—just hours after his rape trial kicked off in New York.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Weinstein has been charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another over a two-day period in 2013.
“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. “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.”
Prosecutors allege that on Feb. 18, 2013, Weinstein raped an unnamed woman in her hotel room after she rebuffed his advances. The next day, the Pulp Fiction producer allegedly sexually assaulted another woman at a Beverly Hills hotel suite. One of these women is expected to testify in the New York trial.
Weinstein has been charged with one count of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint, prosecutors said.
The charges stem from a two-year investigation launched by a task force reviewing sexual-abuse allegations against high-profile entertainment figures. Prosecutors allege eight women accused Weinstein of sexual battery or assault in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.
“It was very challenging to get some victims to open up,” Lacey said in a Monday press conference announcing the charges. “We had been working on this case quite diligently in the past couple of years.”
Weinstein, 67, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. L.A. prosecutors are recommending his bail be set at $5 million. He faces a maximum sentence of 28 years in prison if convicted.
“Once the defendant’s case is completed in New York, we expect him to appear in a courtroom in Los Angeles County to face these charges,” Lacey added.
The new charges against the Oscar winner came just hours after Weinstein appeared in a Manhattan courtroom for the start of his highly anticipated rape trial. Manhattan prosecutors allege Weinstein used the power of his production empire, The Weinstein Company, to cover up his pattern of predatory behavior.
He currently faces five charges in New York, including predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape, for allegedly performing a sex act on his former production assistant in 2006 and raping another woman in 2013. The trial is expected to last six weeks.
Outside Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday, several women wearing red, including actresses Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette, rallied together in support of survivors of sexual assault. Over 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual abuse over the last two years.
“That we’ve come to this moment of justice is staggering. The trial means so much to so many, but it’ll mean the most to the brave women testifying & to all of us Silence Breakers,” McGowan said.
In New York, jurors are expected to hear from six of Weinstein’s accusers. The prosecution’s case, however, will rely on the testimony of two women who made the initial 2018 charges: Mimi Haleyi and an unnamed woman.
Prosecutors allege Weinstein forcibly ripped out Haleyi’s tampon and performed oral sex on the former production assistant at his Soho home in 2006. The second woman, who has not been named, was allegedly raped by Weinstein in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013.
In a statement provided to The Daily Beast, the Silence Breakers group said the New York criminal trial and the charges in Los Angeles “are a clear indication that the risks we took and the consequences we subsequently faced were not in vain.”
“Today represents a new day for our society. Now it is the time to see Harvey Weinstein, and abusers like him, finally brought to justice,” the group said.