Harvey Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women in New York.
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct dating back decades but he only faces five criminal counts in New York – two counts of rape, one count of criminal sexual act and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
He faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault.
One of the women Weinstein was charged with assaulting, former production assistant Mimi Haleyi, has said that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2006. Prosecutors say Weinstein raped the second woman, who has not been publicly identified, in 2013.
Harvey Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women in New York. More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct dating back decades but he only faces five criminal counts
Jury selection began January 7 but finding impartial New York City jurors amid the media frenzy surrounding the Weinstein case will be a challenge for both legal teams, experts said.
Lawyers will likely question potential jurors about their knowledge and opinion of the case, their work history and whether they have been victims of sexual misconduct.
The trial is expected to last for around six weeks.
Los Angeles prosecutors have also charged Weinstein with sexually assaulting two women there on successive nights during Oscar week in 2013.
Lawyers for Weinstein had no immediate comment on the new charges, though he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Weinstein faces up to 28 years in state prison if he is convicted of the charges filed in LA of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.
His arraignment has not yet been scheduled and prosecutors will recommend $5 million bail. Weinstein is expected to appear in court in California after his trial in New York is finished.
Here is what to expect from the trial:
WHO ARE THE ACCUSERS?
One of the women Weinstein was charged with assaulting, former production assistant Mimi Haleyi, pictured in 2017, has said that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2006
More than 80 women have publicly accused Weinstein, 67, of sexual misconduct, helping to fuel the #MeToo movement over the last two years. The criminal charges against him refer to just three accusers.
Mimi Haleyi, a former production assistant on a Weinstein Company television show, has said that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in his Manhattan home in July 2006.
Actress Annabella Sciorra, best known for her role on HBO’s The Sopranos, has said Weinstein raped her in her Manhattan apartment in 1993.
Prosecutors have accused Weinstein of raping another woman in March 2013 in Manhattan. She has not been publicly identified.
Weinstein has said that any sexual encounters he had were consensual.
WHAT ARE THE CHARGES?
Weinstein is charged with a criminal sexual act in the first degree against Haleyi, and with rape for the 2013 allegation. He is charged with predatory sexual assault over both allegations.
Sciorra’s allegation is too old to be the basis of a separate charge, but is a crucial part of the predatory sexual assault charges, which require prosecutors to establish a pattern of serious sex crimes against multiple women.
Predatory sexual assault is the most serious charge against Weinstein, carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison.
WHO WILL TESTIFY AGAINST WEINSTEIN?
Haleyi, Sciorra and the 2013 accuser are almost certain to testify in a trial that is expected to last up to eight weeks.
Prosecutors may also call three other women to testify about encounters with Weinstein, even though he is not formally charged with crimes against them. Their testimony is intended to bolster the charges by showing that Weinstein had a consistent pattern of behavior.
Prosecutors have also said that they expect to call Barbara Ziv, a professor at Temple University in Pennsylvania, to testify as an expert on the trauma resulting from sexual assault.
WHAT IS WEINSTEIN’S DEFENSE?
While criminal defendants and their lawyers typically avoid revealing their strategy before trial, Weinstein has dropped some hints.
Weinstein’s lead lawyer, Donna Rotunno, told Reuters that Weinstein had a ‘slew of witnesses ready to go.’ She has said the defense would be introducing emails and text messages to prove that Weinstein’s accusers maintained relationships with him after his alleged assaults.
His lawyers have also said they plan to call psychologist Deborah Davis, of the University of Nevada, Reno, to testify as an expert on memory, suggesting that Weinstein may try to call his accusers’ recollections into question.
Harvey Weinstein was pictured smiling as he arrived at a New York court on January 6 as his lawyers and a judge handle the final preparation for his trial on charges of rape and sexual assault
WHAT OTHER LEGAL RISKS DOES WEINSTEIN FACE?
Even if he is acquitted in Manhattan, Weinstein faces separate criminal charges announced on Monday by prosecutors in Los Angeles. Lawyer Rotunno declined immediate comment on those charges.
Weinstein was charged with sexually assaulting two unidentified women in 2013, said Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey. He was charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting the other.
Lacey said the timing of the charges was unrelated to the New York trial.
But there is some connection between the cases. One of the Los Angeles accusers is expected to testify in the New York case to help prosecutors establish what they say was Weinstein’s pattern of forcing himself on young actresses and women trying to break into Hollywood.
Weinstein is expected to appear in court in California after his New York trial, Lacey said.
The Hollywood mogul stumbled up the stairs as he arrived at a Manhattan courthouse on January 8