The Manhattan district attorney has announced new criminal charges against 66 year old film producer Harvey Weinstein that could have the disgraced Hollywood mogul spending the rest of his life in prison. In May, Weinstein was arrested on charges related to sexually assaulting two women. The new allegations involve a forcible sex act on a third woman that occurred in 2006. Experts believe he could take a plea bargain to avoid facing 25 years in a criminal case that may hinge on actresses providing “prior bad acts” testimony, a key contributor to the Bill Cosby guilty verdict.
More than 100 women have accused him of sexual misconduct spanning decades. Weinstein denied all allegations of nonconsensual sexual activity. In early June, he pled not guilty on two counts of rape and one first-degree criminal sex act charge. He remained free after he turned in his passport, paid $1 million bail and agreed to wear a monitoring device while under house arrest. Those charges stem from allegations from two women — one involving an incident in 2004, and one in 2013 — according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
As more women came forward with allegations against Weinstein, the New York Police Department and the Manhattan DA’s Office launched a joint investigation culminating in the charges. A grand jury indicted Weinstein on three felony counts on May 30.
Weinstein surrendered to authorities, seven months after The New Yorker and The New York Times published accounts from several women accusing him of various forms of sexual misconduct. The New Yorker article contained on-the-record accounts from 13 actresses who reported Weinstein forcibly received or performed sexual acts on the women. The accounts unleashed a flood of accusations of sexual harassment, assault and rape against Weinstein.
Among his accusers are some of Hollywood’s most well-known actresses including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette, Kate Beckinsale, Daryl Hanna, Salma Hayek, Lena Headey, Lauren Holly, Natasha Henstridge, and Heather Graham. He was also accused of retaliating against women who refused his advances by discouraging studios from working with them. Harvey Weinstein’s wife of a decade, Georgina Chapman, announced in a statement that she was leaving him. Chapman received primary custody of their two children in their divorce.
The scandal emboldened women around the world to accuse powerful men of sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo movement and led to the ousting of many of them from their positions. It also led a great number of women to share their own experiences of sexual assault, harassment, or rape on social media under the hashtag #MeToo. The scandal’s impact on powerful men in various industries came to be called the “Weinstein effect”. The Times and the New Yorker jointly won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their reporting on Weinstein.