On the same day that Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial for rape began in New York City, the much-accused producer has been charged with sexual assault claims in Los Angeles — and prosecutors are asking for $5 million bail.
L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey officially announced the charges during a news conference today. Weinstein is facing multiple felony counts from “raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013.” If convicted on all counts, he faces nearly three decades in state prison.
“Once the defendant’s case is completed in New York, we expect him to appear in a courtroom in Los Angeles County to face the charges,” Lacey told reporters today.
Harvey Weinstein Rape Trial Starts With Fireworks Inside & Outside Courtroom
Looking at life behind bars if found guilty in the five-felony NYC case, the 67-year-old Weinstein could get up to 28 years in state prison if found guilty in Los Angeles of the attacks nearly seven years ago in L.A. and Beverly Hills. In assaults that occurred on February 18 and 19, 2013, Weinstein is alleged to have committed one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint, the D.A. said.
The county finally is able to go after the disgraced producer due to changes in California’s statute of limitations for sex crimes that took effect on New Year’s Day.
“I supported these changes [in the law] because sexual predators should not go free simply because it took time for a victim to report the crimes against them,” Lacey said.
She also noted that “this is the first criminal case filed by the task force that I created in November of 2017 in response to the sexual assault allegations in the entertainment industry.”
At the news conference, Lacey added: “In all, eight women came forward to report that they were sexually assaulted by [Weinstein] in Los Angeles County. Three of those alleged crimes took place outside of the statute of limitations, and for that reason, we have declined to file charges in those three cases. We continue to investigate allegations involving three other women to determine if additional criminal charges will be filed.”
No date has been set for when Weinstein will be arraigned. The $5 million bail sought by prosecutors is the same amount he is currently on bail with in Manhattan.
“We cannot comment further on this case at this time,” Lacey told reporters today. “However, I want to commend the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them.”
After years of inaction on the part of Lacey’s office, these new charges follow a recent revelation that the L.A. D.A. was looking into new probes of Weinstein brought to them by law enforcement. The timing also follows discussion in NYC Monday where Justice James Burke insisted he would not speak with prosecutors or defense lawyers about matters that may or may not be happening in “other jurisdictions.”
“More than 40 cases have been presented to my office for possible criminal filing during the past two years,” Lacey said today. “Most have been declined for criminal prosecution for one of two reasons: The alleged crimes were too to prosecute or there was insufficient credible evidence to file criminal charges against the defendant.”
Now that the charges have come on the West Coast, the East Coast case could be affected – as defense attorneys implied today in court.
The Manhattan D.A. had no comment on the moves in L.A. today, nor did Weinstein’s reps.
First arrested in late May 2018 in New York, Weinstein is facing multiple counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. Subject to travel restrictions reinforced last August 7, the 67-year-old producer is now out on a $5 million bail after first entering a not guilty plea on July 9 last year. Weinstein entered a plea of not guilty again on August 26 this year when a new indictment was added.
Accused by Ashley Judd in a now temporarily halted case, failing to get a sex-trafficking class action tossed out, Weinstein is also facing allegations from more than 60 women that he sexually assaulted or sexually harassed them – with a number of those women reluctantly participating in the floated $25 million settlement that is part of an overall $45 million deal. As well as L.A. D.A. Jackie Lacey and Deputy D.A. Paul Thompson of the Sex Crimes Division now, Weinstein is also still currently under investigation by federal prosecutors as well as probes by the Manhattan D.A.’s office, the NYPD, the LAPD and more globally.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.
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