LIVE

California authorities have begun the process to extradite Weinstein to face sexual assault charges there

By Jeff Truesdell
March 11, 2020 03:38 PM
Advertisement

Wednesday’s sentencing of Harvey Weinstein to 23 years in prison following his conviction on two rape and sexual assault charges in New York means the attention now will shift to California, where the disgraced former movie mogul faces similar charges.

Authorities already have begun the extradition process to have Weinstein arraigned on the West Coast, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

No date for that arraignment has been set.

On the day that Weinstein’s New York trial began January 6 in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the district attorney’s office in L.A. announced four felony charges there that accuse Weinstein of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013.

He is specifically charged with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.

The names of the two alleged victims have been officially withheld by the D.A., and the investigation is ongoing, according to the D.A.’s office. But one of the two, who alleges that Weinstein raped her after a Hollywood film festival, says she delayed telling anyone because Weinstein “threatened her life” if she did so, according to documents in the California case obtained by PEOPLE.

Harvey Weinstein
Credit: Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

Weinstein has not yet entered a plea to the California charges. In his defense at his New York trial — and in his response to allegations of assault raised by more than 80 women that arose following 2017 exposés in The New York Times and The New Yorker — Weinstein, through his attorneys and spokespeople, has said that he only engaged in consensual sexual encounters.

“Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances,” his spokesman said in a previous statement to PEOPLE, addressing a central claim made by some of his accusers.

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein
| Credit: Scott Heins/Getty

Although the New York charges against Weinstein were predicated on the cases of two women, four others were permitted by a judge to testify as prosecutors sought to portray his alleged pattern of behavior. Two of the women, aspiring actress Jessica Mann and actress and model Lauren Young, described incidents that occurred in California that were beyond the reach of the New York courts.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

According to a news release from the Los Angeles D.A.’s office, on Feb. 18, 2013, Weinstein allegedly went to a hotel “and raped a woman after pushing his way inside her room.” The next evening, he allegedly assaulted a second woman at a hotel suite in Beverly Hills.

“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,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement announcing the charges. “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.”

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein
| Credit: Seth Wenig/AP/Shutterstock

First Allegations Were in Published Reports

The downfall of the former Oscar-winning producer behind films including Shakespeare in Love and The King’s Speech was swift after the two media investigations were published in October 2017.

First, reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published their feature in The New York Times in which eight women, including the actress Ashley Judd, accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.

Days later The New Yorker published its exposé written by Ronan Farrow that included 13 women’s accounts of sexual harassment and assault or rape at the mogul’s hands.

Actresses who have spoken out about Weinstein include Rose McGowan, Annabella Sciorra, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston and Daryl Hannah.

Harvey Weinstein on rape trial, New York, USA - 05 Jun 2018
Harvey Weinstein
| Credit: STEVEN HIRSCH/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

In the wake of the reports, Weinstein’s studio — which he founded with his brother and business partner, Bob — filed for bankruptcy in March 2018. He and his wife, Georgina Chapman, also divorced.

Bob Weinstein confronted his brother about his alleged “misbehavior” in 2015 before the allegations went public, according to a letter published in a book about the scandal by reporters Kantor and Twohey.

“You have brought shame to the family and your company through your misbehavior,” Bob Weinstein wrote in the letter, which is contained in full in the book She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement. “Your reaction was once more to blame the victims, or to minimize the misbehavior in various ways. If you think nothing is wrong with your misbehavior in this area then announce it to your wife and family.”

Bob Weinstein told the book’s authors that he mistakenly believed his brother’s problems were related to sex addiction and eventually stopped trying to address them.

“I got worn out,” he told Kantor and Twohey. “I said, ‘I surrender,’ see?”

“Bob long believed that Harvey was a sex addict engaged in persistent philandering, and, therefore, Bob repeatedly implored his brother to seek treatment from a doctor who specialized in sex addiction, including in the 2015 letter, as well as after he wrote that letter, which also addressed Harvey’s behavior toward Bob and his verbal abuse of others,” Bob’s attorney said in a statement provided to The Wrap. “Although Harvey promised Bob he would heed his advice and get the help Bob believed he needed, he apparently never did.”

If convicted of the charges in California, Weinstein could face up to 28 years there in state prison.