LA district attorney: Harvey Weinstein charged with rape, other sex crimes
NEW YORK CITY, NY (ABC News) — Harvey Weinstein has been charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Monday.
The disgraced movie mogul was charged with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.
“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,” District Attorney 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.”
On Feb. 18, 2013, Weinstein allegedly went to a hotel room and raped a woman after forcing his way into her room. He is also accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a Beverly Hills hotel the next evening.
Neither woman has spoken out publicly about the allegations, but one of them is scheduled to testify in Weinstein’s criminal trial in New York, which began Monday.
In all, eight women came forward in Los Angeles county with sexual assault allegations against Weinstein, although three of the alleged incidents took place outside of the statute of limitations, the district attorney’s office said during a press conference announcing the charges.
The office said it is still investigating the remaining allegations and warned that more charges could follow.
“We continue to investigate allegations involving three other women to determine if additional charges will be filed,” Lacey told reporters Monday. “However, I want to commend the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them.”
“I want victims to know that just because we may lack sufficient evidence to charge their assailant, it does not mean that a crime did not occur. It simply means that the evidence was not strong enough to meet our filing standards. To those victims I want you to know, we see you, we hear you and we believe you,” she added.
Prosecutors are recommending bail be set at $5 million. If convicted, Weinstein faces up to 28 years in state prison.
Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson of the Sex Crimes Division is prosecuting the case which remains under investigation by the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police departments and the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.
As Weinstein’s New York trial got underway, a group of his alleged victims, among them actresses Rosanna Arquette and Rose McGowan, spoke out against him.
These so-called “Silence Breakers” — who represent the more than 90 women who’ve accused him of everything from inappropriate behavior to rape — took turns at the microphone.
“While the emotion of the day runs high, I join these other brave women who were also harmed by Harvey Weinstein to say that we aren’t going anywhere,” said Arquette, who starred in Pulp Fiction, which Weinstein produced.
“The truth will prevail. And whether it is this trial or in the future, Harvey will be held accountable for his actions.”
For her part, McGowan addressed Weinstein directly, via a letter she read aloud.
“Dear Harvey, no matter what lies you tell yourself, you did this,” she said.
“Today, Lady Justice is staring down a super-predator: you. You brought this upon yourself by hurting so many. You have only yourself to blame. You thought you could terrorize me and others into silence. You were wrong.”
She added, “Know this: We are free, we are beautiful and we are strong and you will never take that from us. Survivors will never give up.”
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him and has denied ever engaging in non-consensual sex with anyone.
His arraignment will be scheduled at a later date.