Jailed Harvey Weinstein faces trial in Los Angeles

Disgraced Hollywood producer accused of 11 charges by five women

Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Centre in Los Angeles, California. AP
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Harvey Weinstein, currently serving a 23-year sentence for sex crimes in New York, is back on trial on criminal charges in Los Angeles, the city where he once held sway as one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood.

Weinstein, 70, is facing 11 charges of rape and sexual assault involving five women in the Beverly Hills and Los Angeles area between 2004 and 2013. Opening arguments are expected to start on Monday. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty.

One of Weinstein's accusers is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker, actress and wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Ms Siebel Newsom will give evidence that Weinstein sexually assaulted her during what she thought was going to be a business meeting, her lawyer, Elizabeth Fegan, said.

The identities of the other accusers are being kept secret in court documents, which refer to them as Jane Does 1 through 5. Weinstein has said all of his sexual encounters with women were consensual.

One potential witness against Weinstein is actor Mel Gibson, who prosecutors said was a friend of one of the accusers.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench ruled last week that Gibson could give evidence about what the friend told him about Weinstein, though the judge said she could change her mind depending on the friend's testimony.

Weinstein, the Oscar-winning producer of Shakespeare in Love and The King's Speech, was convicted of sexual misconduct in New York in February 2020. Allegations against him helped fuel the #MeToo movement of women speaking out about harassment and abuse by men in Hollywood and beyond.

He was extradited from New York to a Los Angeles prison in July 2021. Now in declining health, he has been seated in a wheelchair during jury selection in Los Angeles Superior Court.

In New York, Weinstein is appealing his conviction and 23-year prison sentence. He could face up to 140 years in prison if convicted on all 11 of the charges in Los Angeles.

Updated: October 20, 2022, 9:58 PM