More than two years after allegations against him first made landfall, Harvey Weinstein has finally hobbled his way to his criminal trial, where prosecutors painted a vivid and horrific picture of his alleged attacks on the six women who will testify against him.
Wilted, gray and clinging to a walker, Weinstein entered the Manhattan courthouse Wednesday morning to a withering opening statement by attorney Meghan Hast, who pointed at him and told the jury, “That man was a sexual predator and a rapist.” From NBC:
“The evidence will show that [this] man is a sexual predator and a rapist,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast told jurors in a crowded courtroom Wednesday morning, later adding Weinstein was “not just a titan of Hollywood, but a rapist.”
“Finally, after all these years, these three women will have their voices heard,” Hast said, referring to the two women whose allegations form the basis of the New York criminal trial and a third, “The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, who is expected to testify.
Over the course of an hour, Hast meticulously laid bare the allegations made by the women, the majority of whom were new to Hollywood and vulnerable at the time of their encounters with Weinstein.
One accuser, who was looking for a break into the entertainment industry, met Weinstein at a party and agreed to join him in his hotel room. There, she reluctantly agreed to give him a massage, despite considering him “old enough to be her father,” Hast said:
At a later meeting in Los Angeles, the prosecutor said, Mr. Weinstein kissed the actress and forced oral sex on her. Ultimately, Ms. Hast told the jury, the woman “tried to have a relationship” with Mr. Weinstein, because “there was no way to get out” without harming her career.
On March 18, 2013, the actress met Mr. Weinstein for breakfast at the Doubletree Hotel on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan — her first trip to New York. It was then, Ms. Hast said, that Mr. Weinstein raped her in his room after injecting his penis with an erection medication. Eight months later, the prosecutor told the jury, Mr. Weinstein raped the woman again, ripping off her pants and violently spreading her legs.
According to the AP, Weinstein’s lawyer, Damon Cheronis, outlined plans to use “friendly-sounding emails, calendar entries and other evidence to call into question the accusers’ accounts of being attacked.”
Weinstein, who has previously said that all sexual encounters were consensual, could face life in prison if convicted. As he left the courthouse on his walker, he told reporters that he felt “very confident” that justice will swing his favor, adding: “I got great lawyers.”