The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has announced that Harvey Weinstein will face a new charge of sexual abuse, this time on the West Coast.
The felony count of sexual battery by restraint stems from an alleged attack at a Beverly Hills hotel May 11, 2010, prosecutors said in a press release.
“We are continuing to build and strengthen our case,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement.
Weinstein, already serving 23 years in New York for the sexual abuse of women, now faces a similar charge in California. According to a media report, “Weinstein was first charged in LA last January with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint for attacks on two women in separate 2013 incidents. LA prosecutors said they had filed paperwork to extradite Weinstein to California. But it’s unclear how long the process will take amid the coronavirus pandemic that has caused courthouses on both coasts to suspend most operations.”
The new California criminal charge may be just the tip of the iceberg. The once powerful Hollywood entertainment mogul was a serial predator and became the face of the #MeToo movement.
The criminal charges are just one aspect of Weinstein’s legal troubles. I represent women who were sexually assaulted by Weinstein and are seeking civil redress for the emotional anguish, pain, and suffering caused by Weinstein. In an interview with CNBC, I was frank about the civil settlement negotiations.
“I think it’s an outrage,” said lawyer Thomas Giuffra of the proposed deal, which calls for a pool of $25 million to be set aside for Weinstein victims by insurers of the company that he ran with his brother Bob Weinstein.
“It’s a lousy number, it’s way too low,” said Giuffra, who called the overall design of the settlement “crazy.”
I am proud to represent those who’ve been sexually harassed in the workplace as well as those who’ve been abused by a minister or priest. It takes a great deal of courage to come forward and seek justice, especially when the accused is a powerful member of society or a religious organization.
Harvey Weinstein thought he was too rich and powerful to be accused of exploiting others for his own personal satisfaction. Our justice system is built upon the notion of equality, that no individual or organization is above the law. Weinstein and those like him must be held accountable both criminally and civilly for the lives he has harmed, in some cases destroyed.