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On trial in Los Angeles, Harvey Weinstein accused of using his power to rape

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In movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s retrial for sexual assault and rape, the prosecution said his ultra-massive stature and huge influence on the movie industry made him believe he had every right to assault his friends. victims.

Fallen Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein used his immense power to rape women terrified of their careers to report him, the prosecution thundered Monday (October 24) at the ex-producer’s second trial all powerful.

The 70-year-old former “king” of cinema, with major award-winning hits like “Pulp Fiction” or “The Artist”, has already been sentenced in New York where he has been serving a 23-year prison sentence since 2020, also for rape and sexual assault.

A verdict that was a founding event for the #Metoo movement born just five years ago in the United States and which triggered an ongoing global wave against sexual violence against women.

This time, Harvey Weinstein is facing 11 charges for allegedly raping and sexually assaulting five women at hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles between 2004 and 2013.

“All the rights”

His ultra-massive stature and enormous influence in the movie industry made him believe he had every right to assault his victims in hotel rooms, the assistant Los Angeles district attorney thundered on the first day of trial in a packed courtroom.

These women “were afraid that he would destroy their careers if they told what he inflicted on them”, denounced the prosecutor Paul Thompson, who will have to convince for two months a popular juror of nine men and three women who will decide to aggravate or not the fate of the former kingmaker of American cinema.

Eight women should present themselves at the bar and “each independently of one another, without knowing each other”, assured Paul Thompson, taking up the words of the victims describing Harvey Weinstein as “king” and “the most powerful figure in the film industry.

Jurors are expected to hear testimony from victims who begged Weinstein to stop raping them, as he allegedly forced them to perform oral sex on him or watch him masturbate. “He is tall, massive, overweight and dominating,” one of them testified to the investigators to explain his submission, his terror and his silence.

“I was scared”

“I was afraid that something would happen to me in the bedroom or outside, if I was not very good, because of his power” in the middle of the cinema, had told another woman.

Weinstein was so influential and so feared that he displayed his “power with American presidential candidates”, denounced the prosecutor by showing a photo of the producer alongside Democrat Hillary Clinton, beaten in 2016 by Donald Trump.

Among the five accusers – who will all testify in Los Angeles under the pseudonym of “Jane Doe” – is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom.

If found guilty, Harvey Weinstein – who has pleaded not guilty to all counts – could be sentenced to more than 100 additional years behind bars.

After an initial rejection by the court, the New York Supreme Court finally allowed the former producer in August to appeal his 2020 conviction, bringing a new dimension to the Los Angeles trial.

#MeToo

Mark Werksman, Harvey Weinstein’s attorney, told the jury that sex was a commodity in Hollywood and that it had been blown up by the #MeToo movement.

“Sex was a bargaining chip. It may have been unpleasant and awkward…but it was consensual.” “The casting started in the bedroom. Everybody was doing it. He did it. Because everyone wanted something from each other,” added Mark Werksman. “Look at him. He’s not Brad Pitt or George Clooney. You think those beautiful women slept with him because he was hot? No. They did it because he was powerful.”

90 women

In total, nearly 90 women including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosanna Arquette have accused Harvey Weinstein of harassment, sexual assault or rape. But the statute of limitations has been exceeded in many of these cases, some dating back to 1977.

The ex-producer is also charged in the United Kingdom for sexual assaults which date back to 1996.

The former producer has always assured that all his accusers were consenting, while his lawyer argues that there is no forensic evidence or credible witness to support the charges.

The new trial of Harvey Weinstein also coincides with the premiere of the film “She Said”, presented on October 13 at the New York Film Festival and which traces the investigation of two journalists from the New York Times on the all-powerful producer.

With AFP

France 24-Trans

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