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Weinstein to stand trial on rape charges this week

Over 80 women have lodged complaints against the movie producer for sexual misconduct accusations going back decades.
Credit: AP
Harvey Weinstein, center, leaves court following a bail hearing, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Shamed Hollywood producer and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, 67, is set to stand trial in a New York court room this week on rape charges stemming from accusations of a pattern of sexual misconduct going back for decades. 

The New York case will focus, in part, on a felony charge against Weinstein regarding an accusation that the Oscar-winning movie producer performed a forcible sex act on a woman in 2006 and in another case raped a different woman in a Manhattan hotel room years later in 2013. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to both charges and has maintained that any sexual activity was consensual, as the Associated Press points out. The felony predatory sexual assault charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, of which Weinstein faces four counts. He is also facing an additional count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape, NBC reports

As the Associated Press reports, July selection is scheduled to start this week in New York and the trial could last about four weeks. This is the only criminal case coming out of the dozens of allegations against the former founder of The Weinstein Company. At least one Hollywood actress is expected to testify against Weinstein.

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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said the accusers have “extraordinary courage.” Lawyer Donna Rotunno, who leads Weinstein's legal team, said last month “just because Mr. Weinstein has been accused of a crime, that does not mean he’s guilty.” 

Weinstein remains free on bail, which was doubled last month to $2 million after prosecutors said he was behaving improperly in regards to his electronic monitoring equipment, which left him untracked for hours at a time. 

The accusations leveled at Weinstein by over 80 women helped fuel the #MeToo movement and have already bankrupted Weinstein's media empire. As NBC reports, The Weinstein Company reached a tentative $25 million settlement with dozens of female accusers.