Jury begins hearing against former film producer Harvey Weinstein

hearing hammer
A hearing gavel. File photo

Jurors heard opening statements on Monday morning in the criminal trial of a former film producer Harvey Weinstein on sex-related charges involving five women.

The jury of nine men and three women was sworn in Thursday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom to hear the case against Weinstein, now 70.

Eight alternate jurors – five men and three women – were also chosen and could be called upon if any of the jurors needed to be replaced during the trial.

Weinstein – who produced films such as “Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction” – was originally charged in January 2020 by Los Angeles County prosecutors with forced rape, forced oral copulation and sexual penetration by use of force involving a woman on February 18. , 2013, and forcible sexual assault involving another woman a day later.

Weinstein was then charged in April 2020 with forcible sexual assault involving “Jane Doe 3” in a Beverly Hills hotel room in May 2010. In November 2020, prosecutors added six more counts – three counts each of forced rape and forced oral copulation – involving two other alleged victims in Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2010.

A grand jury indicted Weinstein on the same charges in March 2021.

Weinstein was extradited from New York, where he was convicted of raping an aspiring actress and of a criminal sex act against a former production assistant. The state’s highest court has since agreed to hear his appeal in that case.

Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench – who described the charges as ‘essentially sexual assault or assault of a sexual nature’ – told potential jurors the trial is expected to last about two months, including the jury selection process , which began on October 10.

–City News Service