- Harvey Weinstein’s trial on charges of rape kicked off in an LA courtroom on Monday morning.
- The convicted sex offender faces 11 counts of sexual assault from allegations by five women.
- The trial is expected to last multiple weeks and a verdict may not be reached until early December.
Opening statements in Harvey Weinstein’s latest trial kicked off in a Los Angeles courtroom on Monday morning where the disgraced media mogul is set to face several women who accused him of sexual assault, as well as dozens of additional witnesses.
A jury of nine men and three women will decide the convicted sex offender’s fate. The jurors were chosen after a six-day long process whittling a pool of 225 possible jurors down to just 12.
Los Angeles County prosecutors have charged Weinstein with 11 counts of sexual assault stemming from allegations by five different women who accused the one-time producer of abusing them in expensive LA hotels between 2004 and 2013.
Weinstein is already serving a 23-year sentence in a New York prison following an East Coast trial but faces an additional life sentence heading into the West Coast proceedings. He has denied the charges and pleaded not guilty.
The Los Angeles trial took on more significance after a New York Court of Appeals in August agreed to hear Weinstein’s appeal on his previous convictions. Should he win an appeal on the New York charges, his freedom will come down to the LA verdict.
An acquittal could deal a further blow to the #MeToo movement following Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s tumultuous defamation trial earlier this year. On the fifth anniversary of the viral internet movement, attorneys in the case questioned prospective jurors in Weinstein’s case about their thoughts on #MeToo.
One of the only three female jurors said she was “on the fence” about #MeToo, according to Variety. She later clarified in court that she believes “most women, but not necessarily all,” the outlet reported.
Among those excused on Thursday was a man who said the #MeToo movement was “pointless and fraudulent,” and a woman who said she couldn’t imagine sitting through a trial on sexual assault because her own daughter had been raped, according to The Wall Street Journal.
About 80 witnesses in total are expected to testify, The New York Times reported, including all five Jane Does. News reports from earlier this month confirmed that California Governor Gavin Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, is among the accusing women. Actor Mel Gibson is also set to take the stand against Weinstein.
The LA trial is expected to last multiple weeks and a verdict may not be reached until early December.