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Harvey Weinstein charged with sexual assault and rape in Los Angeles, faces up to 28 years in prison

Harvey Weinstein charged with sexual assault and rape in Los Angeles, faces up to 28 years in prison

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey revealed in a statement that Weinstein now faces new felony charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.

On Monday, disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013. Prosecutors in Los Angeles charged the 67-year-old with the sex crimes on the same day that his trial on similar charges began in New York City. Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey revealed in a statement that Weinstein now faces new felony charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint. If convicted, the former Hollywood mogul faces up to 28 years in prison.



 

According to a report by CNN, Lacey said, "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." As per the criminal complaint, Weinstein and a woman attended a Hollywood film festival on February 17, 2013. Later that night, he is said to have knocked on the woman's hotel room door and when allowed inside, Weinstein allegedly attacked her, forced her to perform oral sex on him, used his fingers to penetrate her vagina, and raped her.



 

The complaint states that the woman claimed not to have disclosed the assault as Weinstein threatened her life if she spoke to anyone about the incident. The producer has now been charged with forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, and sexual penetration in relation to this incident. The complaint further states that Weinstein met with a woman and her acquaintance for a business meeting at a hotel eatery in West Los Angeles on February 19 and persuaded the two to accompany him to his hotel suite. When one woman unwittingly followed him into the bathroom, he allegedly took off his clothes and prevented her from leaving.



 

Weinstein held her in place by her breast as he masturbated, the complaint says. Lacey revealed that the accused faces a charge of felony sexual battery by restraint for that incident. "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," she added in her statement, reports the Rolling Stone.



 

Both victims reported these incidents to police in 2017 and were presented to the district attorney's office for criminal charges later the same year. Speaking of why the charges have only been announced now—years later—Lacey said, "It was very challenging to get those victims to open up and tell us what they needed to tell us. For some of them, it was embarrassing, it was terrifying, and so until then we were just working to see if we could get the evidence needed to get to court." While neither women have previously come forward with these allegations, prosecutors revealed that one of the two women is expected to testify in the New York case.



 

As for the charges being announced the same day as the start of Weinstein's New York trial, Lacey said it was just a coincidence. She added that she did not want to interfere with the New York case and said that the judge will have to rethink Weinstein being out on bail, given the new charges. While the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office previously said that eight women have come forward against Weinstein, Lacey stated that three of those cases were outside of the statute of limitations, two led to today's charges, and the remaining three are still under investigation. An arraignment date for Weinstein is yet to be set and prosecutors are reportedly recommending a bail of $5 million.

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