Prosecutors in Los Angeles County have charged convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein with a count of sexual battery by restraint. This charge comes in addition to an existing case for alleged separate attacks on two women in 2013. The earlier charges were forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint.
In the new charge, Weinstein allegedly sexually assaulted a woman at Beverly Hills hotel room on May 11, 2010. Prosecutors said they originally spoke to her as a possible corroborating witness in the case, but she ended up showing that the assault happened within the 10-year statute of limitations required by the law.
“We are continuing to build and strengthen our case,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “As we gather corroborating evidence, we have reached out to other possible sexual assault victims. If we find new evidence of a previously unreported crime, as we did here, we will investigate and determine whether additional criminal charges should be filed.”
Weinstein is locked up at the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York, near Buffalo, pending extradition to California. Dozens of women have stepped forward to say that the defendant, a powerful Hollywood producer, used his influence to terrorize them in a wide array of sexual misconduct.
Weinstein was convicted in February of lesser charges in his Manhattan trial: a criminal sexual act in the first degree against former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and rape in the third degree against former actress Jessica Mann. New York Prosecutors described Weinstein as a manipulative. The verdict meant Weinstein dodged a possible life sentence, but a judge sentenced Weinstein to 23 years in prison. That’s near the top end of the possible sentence Weinstein faced on the charges for which he was convicted.
Weinstein’s representatives say he’s facing a slew of health problems. They have declined to confirm if he was infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, after prison union officials claimed he did test positive. Weinstein’s people have recently said he has no symptoms.
A Weinstein spokesperson did not immediately return a Law&Crime request for comment, but based on previous statements, Weinstein’s team is likely to push back against the new LA charge. The attorneys who represented Weinstein in New York denied allegations of sexual assault. They presented the former Hollywood mogul as a demanding, flawed man who cheated on his wife in consensual affairs but who never sexually assaulted women.
[Image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images]
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