Jury selection for Harvey Weinstein sex assault trial to begin this week

More than two years after a wave of sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein ushered in the #MeToo movement, the disgraced movie mogul faces another reckoning: a criminal trial that could him put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

Jury selection is scheduled to start this week in New York City in a case involving allegations that Weinstein raped one woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.

It is the only criminal case to arise from dozens of allegations against the Oscar-winning film producer. Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty and maintains any sexual activity was consensual.

At least one Hollywood actress is expected to testify against Weinstein, and several other accusers have said they plan to attend the trial, which could last about four weeks once a jury is picked.

Weinstein’s lawyer has argued the case is weak and said she plans to aggressively cross-examine the accusers.

“Just because a woman makes a claim doesn’t mean it’s true,” lawyer Donna Rotunno said after a pretrial hearing last month. “Just because Mr. Weinstein has been accused of a crime, that does not mean he’s guilty.”

Prosecutors have not commented publicly on the case since around the time of Weinstein’s arrest and initial court appearances in 2018.

In a statement issued at the time, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. praised the “extraordinary courage” of Weinstein’s accusers said he was confident jurors would reject defence attacks on their credibility.

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