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As N.Y. Trial Begins, Harvey Weinstein Faces Charges In Los Angeles


Harvey Weinstein now faces criminal charges in two places. The former film producer is on trial this week in New York facing two accusers, only two of the more than 80 women who say he harassed or assaulted them. Only two women were willing to come forward and had cases recent enough to file charges and said they were attacked in the jurisdiction of New York. Now the Los Angeles district attorney has brought charges in that jurisdiction. We have reports from both coasts and should warn you that some people will find the details of this three-minute report disturbing. NPR's Rose Friedman is in New York, and Robert Garrova is at member station KPCC in Los Angeles.

ROBERT GARROVA, BYLINE: LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey says it's a coincidence that the West Coast charges were filed just as the New York trial got under way.


JACKIE LACEY: The bottom line is we had been working on this case quite diligently in the last couple of years.

GARROVA: Lacey said it was a struggle to get fearful victims to open up to investigators. The two women in these charges are not named. In one case, Weinstein is accused of raping a woman in her Los Angeles hotel room after attending a film festival in 2013. The next evening, he's accused of convincing another woman to come to his Beverly Hills hotel suite where he attacked her. A total of eight women came forward to say they were sexually assaulted by Weinstein in LA County. Lacey says prosecutors are still determining whether to file criminal charges in three of those instances.


LACEY: We also are encouraging others. If you're out there and you have not reported your crime to the police, please come forward now.

GARROVA: LA Police Chief Michael Moore hinted that there are other women whose cases could be filed in the future.


MICHAEL MOORE: To them, I extend a hand of support and strength and ask them to remain committed to these investigations.

GARROVA: If he's convicted on all counts, Weinstein could face up to 28 years in a California state prison. His Los Angeles attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The DA's office says it doesn't expect to arraign Weinstein until after his New York trial wraps up. For NPR News, I'm Robert Garrova in Los Angeles.

ROSE FRIEDMAN, BYLINE: And I'm Rose Friedman in New York. Harvey Weinstein entered the courthouse stooped over a walker after a back surgery. It was a brief day inside. Both sides went over rules about evidence with Judge James Burke. There was a mention of potentially embarrassing photos that might be presented to the jury. Weinstein's team had a slight setback when the judge told them they could not call a New York City detective who had worked on the case and who caught criticism for his methods unless it becomes necessary during cross-examination of another witness. Meanwhile, nearby, some of Weinstein's many accusers, who are not part of the criminal case, held a press conference. Actress Rosanna Arquette spoke to reporters.


ROSANNA ARQUETTE: The truth will prevail. And whether it is this trial or in the future, Harvey will be held accountable for his actions.

FRIEDMAN: Weinstein is facing five charges related to two different women in the New York City case. One is Mimi Haleyi, a former Weinstein Company production assistant who alleges that Weinstein forced oral sex on her at his home in 2006. The other woman's identity is unknown, but she alleges Weinstein raped her in 2013. Jurors will also likely hear from actress Annabella Sciorra, whose allegation of a rape in 1993 or '04 will be used to bolster the charge that Weinstein committed serious criminal acts against more than one woman, which could increase jail time. The jury selection process begins today. It will start with a questionnaire. It could take hundreds of potential jurors to come up with a final group. Outside the courthouse, Weinstein's attorney, Donna Rotunno, said their team is preparing for the fights to come.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What are you trying to focus on for jury selection?

DONNA ROTUNNO: Fair jurors, jurors who can be fair and impartial.

FRIEDMAN: Jury selection could take up to three weeks. The trial itself is expected to last six to eight. Rose Friedman, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Rose Friedman is an Associate Editor for NPR's Arts, Books & Culture desk. She edits radio pieces on a range of subjects, including books, pop culture, fine arts, theater, obituaries and the occasional Harry Potter-check-in. She is also co-creator of NPR's annual Book Concierge and the podcast recommendation site Earbud.fm. In addition, Rose has edited commentaries for the network, as well as regular features like This Week's Must Read on All Things Considered.
Robert Garrova