Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial to begin in New York

  06 January 2020    Read: 1118
Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial to begin in New York

Harvey Weinstein was one of Hollywood's most successful producers, behind hit films including Shakespeare in Love, The King's Speech and Pulp Fiction.

But in 2017, dozens of sexual assault allegations emerged against the movie mogul.

Now he is standing trial and could face life in jail if convicted.

When does it start and what is he charged with?
Jury selection for Mr Weinstein's criminal trial begins on Monday 6 January in Manhattan, New York. It is likely to take around two weeks to select 12 jurors, before the trial gets under way in earnest.

He faces five charges including rape and predatory sexual assault relating to two unnamed accusers. He is charged with raping one woman in a hotel room in the New York borough in 2013, and performing a forcible sex act on the second woman in 2006. He denies the charges.

The criminal charges stem back to May 2018, when Mr Weinstein turned himself in to New York police. He was then charged with rape and several other counts of sexual abuse against the two women.

Mr Weinstein, who was released on $1m bail and the following month, pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault in the New York Supreme Court.

There were originally six charges, but in October that year a New York judge dismissed one of them after prosecutors said one of his accusers had given a witness a different account of the alleged sex assault from the version she had given them.

In August 2019, Mr Weinstein pleaded not guilty to two additional charges of predatory sexual assault. They related to an alleged assault that took place on actress Annabella Sciorra in Manhattan in the early 1990s.

That's too long ago to be prosecuted under New York state law, but prosecutors filed the indictment because it will allow them to call Ms Sciorra as a witness during the trial.

Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, who led the sex assault case against former IMF leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2011, will lead the prosecution.

Mr Weinstein unsuccessfully tried to get the trial moved out of New York City, arguing the intense media scrutiny would make it hard for him to get a fair hearing.

Once the jury has been selected, the trial is expected to last about six weeks.



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