He used to be one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, but Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein, wearing an electronic tracking device, limped his way to a New York court on Tuesday for the jury selection of his rape trial.
The trial took a dramatic turn when the judge threatened to revoke the former film producer’s bail and jail him instead, after catching him using his cellphone in court.
While the prosecution called for his detention, the judge decided to give Weinstein another chance, but demanded strict compliance.
The 67-year old, who is out on a $2 million dollar insurance bond, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women in New York.
Weinstein could spend his life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault.
Following his New York trial, Weinstein must also face four new sex crime charges in Los Angeles – based on a rape accusation from one woman and sexual assault allegation from another back in 2013.
He has denied the allegations, saying any sexual encounters he had were consensual.
“In all, eight women came forward to report that they were sexually assaulted by the defendant in Los Angeles county. Three of those alleged crimes took place outside of the statute of limitations and for that reason, we have declined to file charges in those three cases. We continue to investigate allegations involving three other women to determine if additional criminal charges will be filed,” said Jackie Lacey, the DA of Los Angeles County.
Filipino women in the entertainment industry have welcomed these developments against Weinstein, who was first publicly accused by Filipino-Italian model Ambra Batillana Gutierrez for allegedly groping her during a business meeting at his New York office back in 2015.
While her case was never prosecuted, more alleged victims of Weinstein eventually stepped forward, fueling the #MeToo movement.
“Time’s up, it’s no longer a hashtag — it’s a global movement and what that means, more people are stepping up to share their stories,” said Giselle Tongi.
Actress, filmmaker, and activist Minerva Vier, used to work at a hotel that Weinstein frequented. Although she never interacted with the movie mogul, she said that his presence was intimidating.
She believes Harvey’s indictment could change the culture in Hollywood, and could pave the way for more minority filmmakers to get opportunities.
“The big shots of Hollywood meaning the Harvey Weinstein’s and Miramax could care less about my minority film projects or even entertain me as a lead actress in movie cuz I’m Filipino, I think times are changing and now I work with other Filipino filmmakers like Joel Laogan, amazing DP of my current fit project Shevolution, and I still definitely aim to make films that tell Filipino stories or deal with topics that matter to us, so yes the Hollywood boys club era has ended.
As he continues to face allegations against him in the United States, Weinstein remains under investigation for sex crimes elsewhere, including London and Dublin.