Women's stories show Weinstein's predatory power - prosecutor

Women’s stories show Weinstein’s predatory power – prosecutor

A prosecutor in the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial told jurors on Tuesday (local time) that the accusers would give testimony eerily similar to that of aspiring young women cornered in hotel rooms by a man who was the definition of power Hollywood.

Harvey Weinstein.

“Each of these women came forward independently of each other, and none of them knew each other,” Assistant District Attorney Paul Thompson said during his opening statement at Weinstein’s trial in Los Angeles. .

The 70-year-old former movie mogul, who is already serving a 23-year sentence in New York, is charged with multiple counts of rape and sexual assault in California.

The defense countered in its opening statement that the incidents either did not happen or were consensual sex that women redefined as a result of the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein, prosecutor Thompson said, dominated his status as “Hollywood’s most powerful man” over them, talking about the A-list female actors he made a career out of before becoming aggressive.

Thompson released a video presentation with composite photos of the women who will testify and quotes from previous testimonies. Most were aspiring actors. One was an aspiring screenwriter who thought she was going to pitch him a screenplay.

All will testify that Weinstein ignored clear signs that they had not consented, the prosecutor said, including “their shaking bodies, their crying, their recoiling, their refusal to say ‘no’.” Thompson said four women against whom Weinstein is not charged with assault in the case will also testify about what he did to them to demonstrate his propensity for such acts.

Weinstein’s attorney, Mark Werksman, told jurors what Weinstein did with women was considered acceptable ‘transactional’ behavior in Hollywood, where young women sought roles and other benefits by having relationships. sex with the powerful movie mogul.

“You’ll learn that in Hollywood, sex was a commodity,” Werksman said.

The accusers that Weinstein is charged with assault should only be identified as Jane Doe in court, but they include Jennifer Siebel Newsom, an actress and documentary filmmaker married to California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Harvey Weinstein in court on October 4, 2022.

Siebel Newsom had yet to meet Newsom and was an aspiring actor in 2005 when, according to his indictment, Weinstein raped her at a Beverly Hills hotel.

Without using her name, both parties said she would testify. Werksman called her “a very prominent citizen of California”.

“She’s made herself a top victim in the #MeToo movement,” he added, “or she’d just be another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood.”

In a statement, Elizabeth Fegen, who represents Siebel Newsom and two other Weinstein accusers, called the comments “despicable, desperate, dishonest.”

“The defense ruthlessly engages in misogynistic slurs and victim-shaming – but survivors will not be deterred,” she added.

Werksman said Siebel Newsom and many other women involved in the case had contact and even started relationships with Weinstein in the years after the encounters, often referring to him fondly.

In an attempt to head off this strategy, Thompson told the jurors they would hear from a psychologist who would dispel rape myths. One of the most important is the idea that a victim of sexual assault would no longer have contact with her attacker.

Werksman said Weinstein’s consensus acts were transformed in October 2017 with “the asteroid called the #MeToo movement.”

“It became the radioactive, smoldering center of it,” Werksman said. “It’s Hollywood’s Chernobyl.”

Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan courthouse.

He said there was suddenly “a new word” for women, “victim”.

Siebel Newsom’s identity was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, and her attorney said she is among the women accused of sexual assault by Weinstein who will testify.

The first of Weinstein’s accusers to testify, a model and actor who was living and working in Italy when she met him at a Los Angeles film festival in 2013, said she was stunned to find him striking. at the door of his hotel room after interacting. with him briefly earlier in the evening.

She said she was more confused than scared at first, so she let Weinstein in, but he became more aggressive. She said he finally forced her to perform oral sex.

“I was crying, I was choking,” the woman said.

She grew more and more emotional on the stand until she was sobbing so much she couldn’t speak.

As the day of hearing draws to a close, Judge Lisa Lench has requested a stay until Wednesday morning (local time), when she will return to the stand.

At the start of the day, Weinstein was whisked into court dressed in a suit and climbed into a seat next to his lawyers.

The confusion arose when Thompson, in his opening statement, made no mention of an accuser who was due to testify just last week. Weinstein was charged with 11 counts in total, four of which involved the unnamed woman. The district attorney’s office did not explain why the woman was not listed.

Outside of court, Weinstein’s attorney said no charges were dismissed.

“People left it out of their presentation, so I didn’t mention it,” he said. “It’s a glaring absence, however, in their presentation.”

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