Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionUsing a walking frame, Harvey Weinstein arrives for his trial on sexual assault chargesFilm producer Harvey Weinstein has appeared in court in Manhattan to face charges of rape and sexual assault. He has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 80 women, but faces charges related…
Film producer Harvey Weinstein has appeared in court in Manhattan to face charges of rape and sexual assault.
He has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 80 women, but faces charges related to only two.
The movie mogul has admitted that he has “caused a lot of pain” but said all of his relationships were consensual.
Outside court, some of his accusers including actresses Rosanna Arquette and Rose McGowan demanded he be held accountable.
His lawyers have vowed to mount an aggressive defence. The claims against him helped form the #MeToo and Times Up movements against sexual impropriety.
Mr Weinstein, once one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers, faces five charges including rape and sexual assault, and could be jailed for life if convicted.
Jury selection began on Monday, with the trial expected to begin properly in around two weeks.
As he did during his bond hearing in December, Mr Weinstein used a walker as he entered the courthouse in downtown New York City.
His lawyers say he requires the medical device due to a back injury.
What happened on Monday?
At the scene – Ritu Prasad, BBC News, New York
Harvey Weinstein entered the courtroom to near silence, hunched over a walker in a black suit. He has been described as frail in recent weeks and it held true today – throughout the proceedings he alternated between gazing downwards or pressing his hand against his face.
These first pre-trial proceedings of the Hollywood movie mogul were also marked by a number of sharp exchanges between the state prosecutors and the producer’s defence team. There were tensions over showing sensitive photographs to jurors during the trial; over redacted evidence; over the defence’s treatment of witnesses.
Mr Weinstein’s defence however maintained that “he’s not looking for a mistrial” – just a conclusion.
As these initial debates commenced in the New York State courthouse, outside several protesters with the Silence Breakers group spoke to the press.
Among them was Actress Rose McGowan, who addressed Mr Weinstein in her statement, saying: “Today Lady Justice is staring down a super predator – you.”
It’s a good indication of what this case means to so many – the culmination of years of social movements in the fight to improve women’s rights in the US justice system.
At the end of this first day of proceedings, Judge James Burke said jury selection would begin, as normally as possible, though he acknowledged finding jurors in a timely manner may be an “ambitious” notion.
Thus dismissed, Mr Weinstein left the room as he entered it – slowly moving down the aisle, expressionless.
What is he charged with?
Mr Weinstein, who was behind hit films including Shakespeare in Love, The King’s Speech and Pulp Fiction, is accused of raping one woman in a hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulting another in his apartment in 2006.
He was charged in May 2018 after the New York Times and Washington Post simultaneously published bombshell reports about his alleged misconduct.
He was released the following month after paying a $1m bail (£760,000).