Los Angeles prosecutors announced new sexual assault charges against disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein on Monday, as a separate criminal trial against him opened in New York City.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a news release that Weinstein has been charged with raping one woman in her hotel room and sexually assaulting another the next night in a Beverly Hills hotel suite in 2013. He faces up to 28 years in prison if convicted.
“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 said in a statement. “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.”
Before the new charges were announced, Weinstein appeared in a New York City courthouse Monday as a trial over charges of sexual assault against two other women commenced. With jury selection set to begin Tuesday, Weinstein’s attorneys appeared to know charges were coming when they asked the judge for potential jurors to be sequestered over the chance that other charges could be brought elsewhere against Weinstein while the trial was ongoing, a request that was denied.
The judge also turned down a proposition from Weinstein’s defense to call a police detective who withheld evidence from prosecutors as a favorable witness. The judge’s ruling caused Weinstein to put his face into his hands.
Last month, Weinstein reached a tentative $25 million settlement with dozens of accusers who had brought civil suits against him.
The deal did not require Weinstein to admit wrongdoing, and would be paid by insurance companies for Weinstein’s former studio, the Weinstein Company, as part of a larger bankruptcy deal for the company.