Harvey Weinstein is facing trial in the city where he was once a towering presence at the Oscars, five years after the #MeToo movement erupted in response to women’s claims about him.
The 70-year-old former movie magnate is already serving a 23-year term for rape and sexual assault in New York, but he is also accused of a number of other crimes, including several that authorities claim took place during an important Oscar week in Los Angeles.
Monday marks the start of jury selection for an eight-week trial.
Five women, who will testify as Jane Does in court, have been charged with four counts of rape and seven other counts of sexual assault by Weinstein.
He has argued his innocence.
In order to demonstrate jurors that Weinstein had a history of committing such crimes, four more women will be permitted to testify about sexual assaults that occurred but did not result in charges.
Beginning in the 1990s, Weinstein pioneered the use of extensive and forceful marketing to promote Academy Award nominations through the business Miramax, which he co-founded with his brother.
He had unheard-of success, helping movies like “The Artist” and “Shakespeare in Love” win best picture awards and ranking among the people who have been thanked the most in Oscar victory speeches.
Weinstein lived and conducted business in New York, where Miramax and its successor, The Weinstein Co., were headquartered, but this did not lessen his influence in Hollywood.
“He was a creature of New York, but he was also a creature of Los Angeles,” according to Kim Masters, editor at large for The Hollywood Reporter and a veteran movie business watcher.“He had this huge Golden Globes party that was always well beyond capacity when he was in his heyday. He was the King of Hollywood in New York and LA.”
Four of the 11 alleged crimes allegedly occurred during Oscars week in 2013, when Jennifer Lawrence won an Academy Award for the Weinstein Co.’s “Silver Linings Playbook” and Quentin Tarantino won for penning the company’s “Django Unchained.”
Like the majority of the instances detailed in the indictments, they took place at opulent hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles that Weinstein used as his California headquarters and where he could be seen all year long, including during award season.
He received more treatment than a VIP.
The driver who took Weinstein about Los Angeles testified at a pre-trial hearing that even he was permitted to withdraw up to $1,000 in cash in Weinstein’s name from the front desk of the hotel where the businessman was staying.
By the time stories against him in The New York Times and The New Yorker in October 2017 led to his downfall, Weinstein’s ability to seemingly force movies to win awards had waned and his business had run into financial difficulties.
Masters commented “His stature changed, he was no longer the king of Oscar, which was really what made him vulnerable”
Not just because it’s a sequel and Weinstein is already serving a lengthy sentence, but also because the Los Angeles trial is expected to be much less of a spectacle than the New York procedures.
At the courthouse in downtown Los Angeles where the trial is taking place, there is little foot activity and no big entrance.
Since Weinstein will be led directly into the courtroom from jail after changing from his prison garb into a suit and across a short hallway where no cameras are allowed that could record him, he won’t be seen by any media throng or demonstrators outside as he was in Manhattan.
Compared to several dozen in New York, only a dozen reporters, including two sketch artists, will be permitted into the tiny courtroom each day.
More on this story via The Western Journal:
Weinstein will also be represented by different lawyers in Los Angeles, Alan Jackson and Mark Werksman. They have expressed worries that movies may play a role in the trial. CONTINUE READING…