Weinstein trial: key dates in the scandal that sparked #MeToo
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New York (AFP)
Harvey Weinstein will be seated Monday in the New York courtroom of Justice James Burke, more than two years after lurid stories about the disgraced movie mogul's sexual misconduct first broke.
Ahead of the opening of Weinstein's trial on rape and sexual assault charges, here are the key dates in the case which triggered the #MeToo movement.
- October 5, 2017: scandal erupts -
The New York Times publishes a bombshell investigative report featuring numerous on-the-record sexual harassment and assault accusations against Weinstein over a period of nearly three decades.
Actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan are the highest-profile accusers.
The Times reveals that Weinstein reached non-disclosure agreements in exchange for money with at least eight women, to guarantee their silence.
Weinstein responds by saying: "I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it."
His lawyer adds that he "denies many of the accusations as patently false."
The board of The Weinstein Company, which he controls with his brother Bob, ousts him a few days later.
- October 10: first rape accusations -
Italian actress and filmmaker Asia Argento tells The New Yorker that Weinstein raped her in 1997. Two other women also accused him of sexual assault.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Rosanna Arquette join the list of women accusing Weinstein of harassment.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein says he denies all accusations of non-consensual sex.
As the weeks go by, more and more women go public with accusations against Weinstein, either on social media or directly to television cameras.
Other Hollywood celebrities and men from other walks of life in the United States and abroad come under a gloomy spotlight as the nascent #MeToo movement protesting against sexual assault gathers steam.
On October 14, the board of governors of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, the institution that awards the Oscars, votes to expel Weinstein, whose films had earned dozens of Academy Awards over the years.
- May 25, 2018: Weinstein charged -
Accused of dragging their feet, prosecutors in New York charge Weinstein with rape in the first and third degrees.
The indictment stems from an alleged attack on a woman, whose identity has not been revealed, in 2013, and a criminal sex act against then aspiring actress Lucia Evans in 2004.
Weinstein is arraigned in a Manhattan court after surrendering to police amid a mob of television cameras and photographers.
His then defense attorney Ben Brafman secures $1 million bail for Weinstein, who is ordered fitted with a GPS monitoring device.
Brafman says his client will be acquitted.
- July 2: new accuser -
The prosecution adds three new charges over a "forcible" sexual act in July 2006 on a third woman, production assistant Mimi Haleyi. Weinstein is now facing six charges and life in jail if convicted.
In October 2018, the prosecution agrees to drop the charges related to Evans after revealing that the accuser had apparently told a friend that she had willingly performed oral sex on Weinstein in exchange for an acting role.
- August 26: fresh indictment -
Prosecutors file a new indictment that will allow actress Annabella Sciorra, best known for 1992 thriller "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle," as well as a handful of episodes of HBO's "The Sopranos," to testify as a corroborating witness.
Sciorra alleges that Weinstein raped her over the winter of 1993-94 in Manhattan. Her case is too old to pursue but prosecutors hope her evidence will help convince the jury that Weinstein was a sexual predator.
The trial, originally scheduled for September, is postponed to January 6, 2020.
The fresh indictment comes after Weinstein in July appointed Chicago attorney Donna Rotunno to lead the defense. Weinstein had ditched Brafman in January.
- December 11: cash settlement -
US media reports that Weinstein has reached a $25 million settlement with more than 30 actresses who accuse him of sexual misconduct, in a civil case unrelated to his criminal trial.
Under the agreement, Weinstein does not have to admit any guilt.
A few days later he gives a rare interview to the New York Post from a hospital following back surgery. In it, he complains that the world has forgotten how he "pioneered" women-led films, sparking uproar.
© 2020 AFP