Prosecutors in Los Angeles, California have announced new charges against alleged sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein, 67. A press conference was held Monday. You can watch in the embed above.
The defendant, a once-renowned Hollywood producer, allegedly raped one woman, and sexually assaulted another in 2013. These events happened over a two-day period, authorities said in a press statement.
“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,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “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.”
Prosecutors said that Weinstein forced his way inside a hotel room in February 18, 2013 and raped the first victim. The next night, he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman at a hotel suite in Beverly Hills. Charges are forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.
The defendant has been accused of sexual misconduct, including rape, by over 80 women. The new charges come at a pretty tense time for Weinstein. Jury selection is scheduled Tuesday in his trial in New York City. Prosecutors over there say he sexually assaulted a production assistant in 2006, and raped another woman in 2013. His defense in that case asserts that there was no crime, these were consensual relationships, and that there’s evidence of continuing relationships.
Weinstein attorney Damon Cheronis spoke to reporters before LA charges were definitively announced, and argued that the timing would be suspicious.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “We’re hoping not, for sure. I think if that happened it would be pretty obvious as to why. The timing would be very suspect.”
Through spokespeople, Weinstein has denied raping anyone.
[image via Jeenah Moon/Getty Images]