Harvey Weinstein’s trial begins Thursday

Harvey Weinstein faces sexual assault and rape charges as L.A. trial begins

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein gestures in court Thursday, March 5, 2018, in New York. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of sexually assaulting four women, some of whom alleged that the producer’s behavior went years before they were famous. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

FILE – In this Feb. 25, 2018 file photo, Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Michel Moore, right, gives a press conference about the Hollywood Reporter story alleging that Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed and assaulted women. Moore says the LAPD has received hundreds of tips, mostly from people who say they’ve experienced Hollywood types getting “too good to be true,” like the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than a month after dozens of women reported sexual harassment and assault by one of Hollywood’s most powerful figures, the trial of Harvey Weinstein began Thursday at the Los Angeles County Superior Court on allegations that the Oscar-winning producer had assaulted and harassed women for decades.

Some victims spoke briefly as they listened to opening statements made by the defense and prosecution. Others sat in the courtroom as they held their children, some sobbing. Weinstein turned briefly and waved.

In recent weeks, Weinstein’s lawyers have made public an alleged series of sexual encounters that began around 1995 and continued for decades, before and after his 1996 marriage to top film executive Georgina Chapman. The defense and the prosecution will get to talk about the allegations in opening statements made public Thursday.

Weinstein is charged with four felony counts of rape, forcible oral copulation, and sexual battery for an attack on actress Jessica Mann in 2006. He is also charged with two counts of felony rape for sexual assault of the other Weinstein accusers, including four women who allege he assaulted them after or around their marriages.

He faces a third count of felony rape for allegedly forcibly performing an act of oral sex on former colleague Anna Graham Hunter in 2013.

The case centers on allegations of a long history of harassment by Weinstein, who rose to global prominence as a producer for “The King of Comedy”

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