NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein has been indicted on new sex crime charges in Los Angeles, just as his trial on separate rape and sexual assault charges in New York was poised to get underway, prosecutors announced Monday.
The Hollywood mogul has been charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a news release.
“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,” Lacey said in a statement. “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.”
Weinstein allegedly raped a woman in a hotel room on Feb. 18, 2013, after he pushed his way inside her room, prosecutors said. The next night, he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in a Beverly Hills hotel suite.
Weinstein faces up to 28 years in state prison if he is convicted of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint. His arraignment has not yet been scheduled and prosecutors will recommend $5 million bail.
The news came the same day that Weinstein and several of the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct converged Monday at the New York City courthouse where a judge and his lawyers handled the final preparations for his high-stakes trial on charges of rape and assault.
Speaking at the New York courthouse Monday prior to the announcement, Weinstein’s attorneys suggested they knew charges might be coming. They asked the judge for potential jurors to be sequestered partly because of the possibility that charges could be brought elsewhere against Weinstein while the trial was ongoing. The denied that request.
“There is a potential L.A. situation going on,” his lawyer, Donna Rotunno, told reporters after the hearing.
“We don’t know what is going to happen. We’re hoping not,” added another of his lawyers, Damon Cheronis. “We have no control over what happens in Los Angeles or anywhere else.”
Earlier Monday, Weinstein, 67, entered the courthouse in New York leaning on a walker following a recent back surgery. When asked outside the courtroom how his back felt, Weinstein responded with a thin smile and a so-so gesture with his hand.
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