Harvey Weinstein’s LA trial begins with jury listening to accuser’s accounts of alleged sexual assaults


LOS ANGELES — A prosecutor at Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial advised jurors Monday that the accusers who will testify will inform uncannily related tales of themselves as younger aspiring girls who had been cornered in resort rooms by a person who on the time was the definition of Hollywood energy.

“Every of those girls got here ahead unbiased of one another, and none of them knew each other,” Deputy District Lawyer Paul Thompson mentioned throughout his opening assertion at Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial.

The 70-year-old former film mogul, already serving a 23-year sentence in New York, is charged with a number of counts of rape and sexual assault in California.

The protection countered in its opening assertion that the incidents both didn’t occur or had been consensual intercourse that the ladies redefined within the wake of the #MeToo motion.

Weinstein, prosecutor Thompson mentioned, lorded his standing as “essentially the most highly effective man in Hollywood” over them, speaking in regards to the feminine A-list actors whose careers he had made earlier than rising aggressive.

Thompson performed a video presentation with composite photographs of the ladies who will testify and quotes from prior testimonials. Most had been aspiring actors. One was an aspiring screenwriter who thought she was going to pitch him a script.

All will testify that Weinstein ignored clear indicators that they didn’t consent, the prosecutor mentioned, together with “their shaking our bodies, their crying, their backing away from him, their saying ‘no.'” 4 girls whom Weinstein is just not charged with assaulting within the case may even testify about what he did to them to reveal his propensity for such acts, Thompson mentioned.

Weinstein lawyer Mark Werksman advised jurors that what Weinstein did with the ladies was thought-about acceptable, “transactional” conduct in Hollywood, the place younger girls had been looking for roles and different benefits by having intercourse with the highly effective film magnate.

“You may study that in Hollywood, intercourse was a commodity,” Werksman mentioned.

The accusers Weinstein is charged with assaulting are anticipated to be recognized solely as Jane Doe in court docket, however they embody Jennifer Siebel Newsom, an actor and documentary filmmaker who’s married to California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Siebel Newsom had not but met Newsom and was an aspiring actor in 2005 when, in keeping with his indictment, Weinstein raped her at a Beverly Hills Lodge.

With out utilizing her identify, either side mentioned she would testify. Werksman known as her a really distinguished citizen of California.

“She’s made herself a distinguished sufferer within the #MeToo motion,” he added, “in any other case she’d be simply one other bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get forward in Hollywood.”

In an announcement to The Related Press, Elizabeth Fegen, who represents Siebel Newsom and two different Weinstein accusers, known as the feedback “despicable, determined, dishonest.”

“The protection is callously partaking in misogynistic name-calling and victim-shaming – however survivors is not going to be deterred,” she added.

Werksman mentioned Siebel Newsom and lots of different girls within the case had contact, and even initiated dealings, with Weinstein within the years after the encounters, typically referring to him affectionately.

In an try to move off this technique, Thompson advised jurors that they might hear from a psychologist who will dispel rape myths. Key amongst them is the concept a sexual assault sufferer wouldn’t have additional contact with their assailant.

Werksman mentioned that Weinstein’s consensual acts had been remodeled in October 2017 with “the asteroid known as the #MeToo motion.”

“He grew to become the smoldering, radioactive heart of it,” Werksman mentioned. “He’s Hollywood’s Chernobyl.”

He mentioned that there was abruptly “a brand new phrase” for the ladies, “sufferer.”

The AP doesn’t usually identify individuals who say they’ve been sexually abused until they arrive ahead publicly. Siebel Newsom’s identification was first reported by the Los Angeles Instances, and her lawyer has advised the AP and different information shops that she is among the many girls Weinstein is charged with sexually assaulting who will testify through the trial.

The primary of Weinstein’s accusers to testify, a mannequin and actor who was dwelling and dealing in Italy when she met him at a movie pageant in Los Angeles in 2013, mentioned she was surprised to search out him knocking on the door of her resort room after interacting with him briefly earlier that night.

She mentioned she was extra confused than frightened at first, so she let Weinstein in, however he grew extra aggressive. She mentioned he ultimately compelled her to carry out oral intercourse.

“I used to be crying, choking,” mentioned the lady.

She grew more and more emotional on the stand till she was sobbing a lot that she might now not converse.

With the court docket day close to an finish, Choose Lisa Lench known as for a recess till Tuesday morning, when she’ll return to the stand.

At first of the day, Weinstein was wheeled into court docket carrying a swimsuit, and climbed right into a seat subsequent to his attorneys.

Confusion arose when Thompson throughout his opening assertion made no point out of 1 accuser who had been set to testify as not too long ago as final week. Weinstein was indicted on 11 counts total, 4 of which concerned the lady who was not talked about. The district lawyer’s workplace didn’t tackle why the lady was not referenced.

Outdoors court docket, Weinstein’s lawyer mentioned no prices had been dismissed.

“The folks left her out of their presentation, so I did not point out her,” he mentioned. “It is a evident absence, although, of their presentation.”

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