Entertainment Hollywood Movies

D.A. files rape charges against film mogul Weinstein

LOS ANGELES — As he prepares to go on trial in New York on similar allegations, former film producer Harvey Weinstein was charged Jan. 6 in Los Angeles with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another during a two-day period in 2013.

Weinstein, 67, was charged with forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.

He will be arraigned at a later date, possibly after his New York trial concludes.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed a motion to set bail at $5 million, something District Attorney Jackie Lacey said the New York judge would have to consider in deciding whether Weinstein should now be remanded into custody.

Weinstein has repeatedly maintained his innocence, denying that he ever engaged in non-consensual sex with anyone.

Los Angeles County prosecutors said Weinstein allegedly pushed his way into a woman’s hotel room on Feb. 18, 2013, and raped her, then allegedly sexually assaulted a different woman at his Beverly Hills hotel room the next night.

“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 during a news conference at the Hall of Justice.

Weinstein faces up to 28 years in prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office. The charges against him in New York could land him in prison for life, according to the Los Angeles County bail motion.

The announcement of Southland charges come as trial unfolds for Weinstein in New York, where he is facing charges of first- and third-degree rape, first-degree sexual assault and two counts of predatory sexual assault.

Multiple women have accused Weinstein of criminal wrongdoing in Los Angeles County. Lacey said her office was presented with eight cases for consideration of charges, but three of them involved actions that were outside the statute of limitations so no charges were filed. Cases involving three other women are still under review.

The alleged victims in the local cases were not identified and neither has come forward publicly, though one is expected to testify in New York, according to Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson, who is set to prosecute the West Coast case.

“Each of these victims told at least one person about the assault in 2013,” Lacey said, adding that both women went to police with their allegations in 2017.

In October 2017, an Italian model-actress came forward and told police she was sexually assaulted by the film producer in February 2013 at the Mr. C Beverly Hills hotel, which is located in Los Angeles, where she was staying while attending the eighth annual Los Angeles, Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest.

“He … bullied his way into my hotel room, saying, ‘I’m not going to [have sex with you], I just want to talk,” the woman told the Los Angeles Times. “Once inside, he asked me questions about myself, but soon became very aggressive and demanding and kept asking to see me naked.

“He grabbed my by the hair and forced me to do something I did not want to do. He then dragged me to the bathroom and forcibly raped me,” she said.

Weinstein left after about 45 minutes, and “acted like nothing happened,” the woman said.

“I barely knew this man,” she told The Times. “It was the most demeaning thing ever done to me by far. It sickens me still. … He made me feel like an object, like nothing with all his power.”

Jane Doe 1 in the criminal complaint — which relates facts matching The Times report — said she delayed coming forward in part because Weinstein threatened her life if she told anyone, according to the bail motion.

Jane Doe 2 agreed to a business meeting with Weinstein at a hotel restaurant and attended with a friend, according to the motion. Both women went up to his hotel suite and when the victim “unwittingly followed him into the hotel bathroom,” the other woman shut the door behind her.

The victim could not open the door, according to the bail motion.

Weinstein showered and then stood between the door and the woman before taking down her dress, grabbing her breast and masturbating, the motion states. Then he allowed her to leave.

The motion lists accusations of four separate instances of rape by Weinstein dating from 1977 at a Los Angeles home to 2008 in a London hotel in calling for higher bail, among several other assaults.

Lacey praised the alleged victims’ courage.

“I want to commend the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them,” Lacey said.

Lacey noted that California has changed state laws to eliminate the statute of limitations for serious sex crimes committed after Jan. 1, 2017.

“Sexual predators should not go free simply because it took time for a victim to report the crimes against them,” the district attorney said.

She added that some victims of uncharged crimes may testify against Weinstein in Los Angeles.

Lacey said more than 40 cases have been presented to her office in the past two years making various allegations of sexual wrongdoing against entertainment-industry figures. She created a task force in 2017 to review such cases.

The district attorney noted that most of those 40 cases were rejected, largely because they occurred beyond a statute of limitations or there was insufficient evidence to justify charges.

“As in any criminal case, a prosecutor must be able to prove the defendant is guilty of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt to be able to file criminal charges against any person,” Lacey said. “For these and many other reasons, sexual assault cases are among the most challenging to prosecute.”

Together with Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore and Beverly Hills Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli, the district attorney urged other victims to step forward despite the challenges.

Spagnoli and Moore promised their departments would aggressively pursue every lead, with Moore calling Weinstein “an individual who has gotten away with too much for too long.”

“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,” Lacey said. “It simply means that evidence was not strong enough to meet our filing standards.

“For those victims, I want you to know we see you, we hear you and we believe you,” Lacey said. “It is my hope that all victims of sexual violence find strength and healing as they move forward.”