Harvey Weinstein has been hit with four new criminal charges in Los Angeles, including the rape of one woman and the sexual assault of another. LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey made the announcement on Monday, the same day Weinstein’s criminal trial in New York got underway.
The disgraced movie mogul has been charged specifically with “one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint,” according to an official statement. The alleged incidents occurred on February 18th and 19th, 2013.
“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,” Lacey stated. “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.”
Altogether, the new charges could land Weinstein a prison sentence of up to 28 years. They’re the the result of a lengthy investigation begun in 2017; under the guidance of Lacey’s office, a task force looked into numerous sexual abuse allegations lodged against prominent industry executives.
Meanwhile in New York, Weinstein sat in a courtroom on Monday as his trial for the sexual assault and rape of two other women began. Those charges could spell out 25 years behind bars. Todays preliminary proceedings addressed the publicity surrounding the trial as well as jury selection, which will begin on Tuesday.
Last month, Weinstein reached a tentative $25 million settlement with over 30 women who had accused him of various levels of sexual assault and harassment. However, the agreement didn’t involve any admission of guilt — he has firmly maintained his innocence regarding all allegations — and none of the Hollywood figure’s own money. Not every victim was satisfied with the deal; former model Kaja Sokola stepped away from the settlement to file a new lawsuit accusing Weinstein of sexually assaulting her when she was 16.