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Harvey Weinstein faces Los Angeles trial over alleged sexual assaults

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Harvey Weinstein arrives at Manhattan Court as jury selection continued in his sexual misconduct trial in January 2020 in New York City. Jury selection began in his Los Angeles trial Monday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Harvey Weinstein arrives at Manhattan Court as jury selection continued in his sexual misconduct trial in January 2020 in New York City. Jury selection began in his Los Angeles trial Monday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood titan who was convicted of a criminal sexual act and third-degree rape in New York, faces a second criminal trial that begins in Los Angeles on Monday.

Jury selection in his trial began Monday in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, records show.

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Weinstein, 70, was first charged with sexual assault in Los Angeles in 2020 as the film producer's trial in New York was beginning.

At the time, Weinstein was accused of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another over a two-day period in 2013 and charged with four counts, one 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," then-Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said at the time.

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"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."

Los Angeles prosecutors added an additional charge in April 2020 based on a 2010 alleged incident in Beverly Hills as Weinstein began serving his 23-year-sentence for his conviction in the New York trial.

Later that year, prosecutors again added six new charges -- three counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation -- for additional accusations including that he raped a woman at a Beverly Hills hotel room in 2004 and another woman in 2009 and 2010.

He was later indicted by a grand jury working with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office in July 2021. The grand jury found that there was enough evidence to charge Weinstein with the sexual assault of the five women over nearly a decade.

"Anyone who abuses their power and influence to prey upon others will be brought to justice," District Attorney George Gascón said at the time.

All told, Weinstein now faces 11 charges in the Los Angeles trial which comes just over a month after he was granted an appeal of his New York conviction.

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Court records show that Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all 11 charges. He faces a life sentence if convicted in the Los Angeles case.

The five women are expected to each testify during the trial as Jane Doe to keep their identities secret, though one of the women has been named by the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times after self-identifying publicly as Jennifer Siebel Newsom -- the wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Judge Lisa B. Lench, who is presiding over the case, has allowed four other women to also testify as witnesses but has excluded Daryl Hannah and Rose McGowan from testifying, Variety reported.

Weinstein's trial and his New York appeal could be a reckoning five years into the #MeToo movement, which was kickstarted after accusations against the film titan first surfaced in 2017.

It also comes after a Pennsylvania court overturned a conviction of Bill Cosby, accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a former Temple University employee.

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