Harvey Weinstein A Los Angeles prosecutor argued Monday that young women were sexually assaulted in hopes of making it in Hollywood, while attorneys for the former producer said their accusers voluntarily used the “casting couch” to promote their careers. participated in the culture.
Weinstein, the man who became the face of #MeToo allegations five years ago, is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for sex crimes in New York. He is now on trial in Los Angeles on 11 charges of rape and sexual assault and has pleaded not guilty.
In early statements, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson offered graphic descriptions and quotes of women who Weinstein said had invited them to hotel rooms for alleged business meetings between 1991 and 2015.
“He was trying to put his penis in my mouth,” Thompson quoted one as saying. He quoted another as saying that Weinstein undressed her and stroked her breasts while masturbating. Weinstein, sitting in the courtroom in a dark suit and tie, occasionally nodded his head as Thompson spoke.
The alleged incidents involving the four women are the basis for the charges against Weinstein. The other four women, who had an encounter outside Los Angeles, will be presented by prosecutors to try to establish a pattern of behavior.
Weinstein’s attorney, Mark Worksman, told jurors that each allegation is a “weak and baseless move that will vanish if you examine you closely.”
“You’ll learn that in Hollywood, sex was a commodity,” said Worksman. “It was the casting couch. Everyone did it … because each wanted something from the other,” Worksman said.
Now look at him, ”said the worksman. “He’s not Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Do you think those beautiful women had sex with him because he’s hot? No. They did it because he was powerful.”
Worksman also noted that each woman came forward only after reports about Weinstein’s behavior fueled the #MeToo movement of women speaking out about sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood and beyond.
Thompson said none of the accusers spoke publicly at the time because they were concerned that Weinstein could “crush their careers.” He showed jury film posters of “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love” and other Weinstein productions.
“At this point in time, it was the most powerful man in the industry,” Thompson quoted a woman as saying. Another said: “He was the king.”
Weinstein, 70, was convicted of sexual misconduct in New York in February 2020. He was extradited from New York to a Los Angeles prison in July 2021.
In New York, Weinstein is appealing his sentence and his sentence of 23 years in prison. He could face up to 140 years in prison if convicted of all charges in Los Angeles.