Hollywood was rocked when the New York Times and New Yorker published explosive investigative reports detailing decades of alleged sexual misconduct and abuse by Harvey Weinstein. Since October 2017, more than 80 women -- including Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow -- have come forward with accusations against someone long thought to be the industry’s most untouchable power player.
Weinstein, who denies all accusations of unlawful, nonconsensual sex, has since been charged by New York prosecutors. With the former Hollywood titan's trial officially underway, ET is breaking down the timeline of events, what’s at stake and how to catch up on all the allegations levied against him.
Initial Allegations and Fallout:
Despite a lengthy denial and threats of lawsuits issued by Weinstein and his legal team, the fallout was swift: his wife, Georgina Chapman, filed for divorce; his production company bearing his name eventually declared bankruptcy and ended all nondisclosure agreements as he retreated from the spotlight and sought treatment. “No one should be afraid to speak out or coerced to stay quiet,” the Weinstein Company announced in a statement. ET has a full account of the timeline leading up to his arrest, the various allegations that women -- also including Cara Delevingne, Paz de la Huerta and Uma Thurman -- have made in the press and the celebrities who have spoken out against him.
Charges Against Weinstein:
Weinstein has been accused of raping an unidentified woman at a Midtown hotel in Manhattan in March 2013 as well as forcing oral sex on a production assistant named Mimi Haleyi at his New York City apartment in 2006. He faces two counts of rape, one count of criminal sexual act and two counts of predatory sexual assault. Currently free on bail via a $2 million insurance company bond, Weinstein maintains that his sexual encounters with the women were consensual and has pleaded not guilty to those charges. He faces a maximum of life in prison if found guilty.
In January, the first day of the New York trial, Los Angeles prosecutors announced new sexual assault charges -- “raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents back in 2013” -- against Weinstein. “We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit violent crimes against them,” L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement. If convicted, he faces up to 28 years in prison. While his legal team has yet to respond to the new charges, Weinstein has denied any wrongdoing in all accusations.
Timeline of the Trial:
The trial began on Jan. 6, with days of motions before a contentious jury selection. Each side is expected to make their case with opening arguments slated to start on Jan. 22. The trial is expected to conclude on or by March 6.
A date for the Los Angeles trial has not been set. “Though the authorities in Los Angeles could issue a warrant for Mr. Weinstein’s arrest,” the Times reports, “it was highly unlikely they would disrupt the trial in New York by seeking his removal to California, or that the judge in New York would allow it.”
By the end of the second week of trial, a full jury of seven men and five women as well as three alternates -- two women, one man -- were selected. One of the female jurors is reportedly writing a novel about “predatory older men.” Despite much back and forth between Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lead attorney, and lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi over juror No. 11’s “novel writing,” Judge Burke ruled that she “would remain on the seated jury,” CNN reports.
The final selection comes from an initial pool of 120 potential jurors, which included Gigi Hadid, who claimed she could be impartial despite having previously met Weinstein. (More on her below.) Co-founder of Milk Studios, Mazdack Rassi, who is married to Marie Claire editor and fashion correspondent Zanna Roberts, was also reportedly summoned before being eliminated. The journalist and TV personality notably served as a mentor for three seasons of Project Runway All-Stars, which was produced by The Weinstein Company before it went bankrupt and included Chapman as judge during Roberts’ time on the reality competition.
Observers and Witnesses:
Because of the nature of the case and Weinstein’s expansive reach in Hollywood, there is no shortage of A-listers involved. The first witness called to testify was Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, whose allegations of rape against Weinstein are not part of the criminal charges because the supposed timeline is outside of New York’s statute of limitations. Rosie Perez also took the stand to offer her account of Sciorra's accusations. Three additional witnesses, who had previously been unnamed, have been confirmed to be actresses Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff and Lauren Young.
Meanwhile, multiple outlets have confirmed that actresses Salma Hayek, Rosie Perez and Charlize Theron are among the 90 potential witnesses presented to Judge James Burke, who is presiding over the trial.
Other potential witnesses include Weinstein’s business partner and brother, Robert, and Irwin Reiter, Weinstein’s longtime corporate accountant who has been described by Times reporters as the “Deep Throat” of their investigation.
On the first day, actresses and accusers Rosanna Arquette, Louise Godbold, Sarah Ann Masse, McGowan and Lauren Sivan spoke outside the courthouse while cloaked in similar red clothing. While addressing reporters, Arquette said, “As one of the silence breakers, I stand in solidarity with the brave survivors who will take the stand against Harvey Weinstein in this trial. While emotion of the days runs high, I joined these other women who were also harmed by Harvey Weinstein to say we aren't going anywhere.”
Weinstein’s Current Health:
Ever since December, 67-year-old Weinstein has been using a walker as he enters and leaves the courtroom. His appearance, which CNN describes as “an apparent sign of the disgraced movie producer’s deteriorating health,” has come under scrutiny. Rolling Stone writes, “The moment Weinstein showed up at court with the apparatus, the question was sparked: Does Weinstein really need this thing, or is this Defense Lawyer 101 tactics to cull sympathy for the now-notorious producer?”
According to Weinstein’s team, however, “he’s not faking it.” The reason for his appearance -- and the use of a walker -- is the result of him being “in a serious car accident in August, which resulted in a concussion” and “necessitated the need for back surgery,” Rotunno told ET. “He has been using a walker to assist him as the back pain has increased. Prior to his entering the court, he wanted to leave the walker in the car, so it did not appear that he was looking for sympathy, as he is not. The press surrounding his physical condition is mean spirited and false.”
While ET will continue to report on major news from the trial (see weekly recaps below or follow along here), other outlets are providing daily updates on what has happened inside the courtroom. CBSNews and Vulture both have taken to updating the same article with daily recaps telling stories of Weinstein being scolded for using a cellphone during the trial and a frustrated judge interviewing potential jurors, many of whom seemingly have had connections to or run-ins with potential witnesses or the defense. Not surprisingly, the Times, which has been at the forefront of the Weinstein story, has been publishing daily articles highlighting various elements and angles of the trial under its New York section.
Week One: After the defense failed to get lawyer Gloria Allred, whose clients include Haleyi and Sciorra, banned from sitting in the courtroom or appearing on the witness list, she told reporters outside the courtroom that “my sense is they fear me.” Later, Judge Burke scolded Weinstein for trying to get him to recuse himself after he told the defendant to stop using his cellphone during proceedings. “Is this really the way you want to end up in jail for the rest of your life, by texting in violation of an order?” he was reported saying.
Week Two: In an unexpected twist, Hadid was called as a potential juror when she was one of around 120 New Yorkers who answered their summons during the selection process. According to the Associated Press, the 24-year-old supermodel disclosed to the judge that despite having met Weinstein before, she was still able to "keep an open mind on the facts" and remain impartial. But her time as a potential juror was short-lived. She was officially cut from the potential list two days later despite bringing some much-needed style to the courtroom.
Week Three: The shortened week started with opening statements from both sides of the case with the prosecutor claiming Weinstein “is not a harmless old man” while his defense took aim at his accusers’ credibility. On Thursday, Sciorra took the stand to testify about the night that the powerful producer allegedly raped her (read her full account here), while Perez was called on Friday to recount her conversations with the Sopranos actress. “She said, ‘I think something bad happened… I think I was raped,'” Perez testified.
Recommended Streaming and Related Content:
Since publishing their investigations, Times journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor and New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow have written books about the ins and outs of bringing down Weinstein and exposing systematic abuse in Hollywood and elsewhere. She Said from Penguin Random House details Kantor and Twohey’s journey to break “the sexual harassment story that helped ignite a movement” while Farrow’s Catch and Kill from Little Brown has been described as a real-life spy novel detailing the violence and espionage by those in power that pushed back against the investigation. Additionally, McGowan published a memoir, Brave from HarpersCollins, which details her childhood living with the controversial group, Children of God, and her alleged sexual assault by Weinstein.
“A large part of the reporting in this book [Catch and Kill] is about how Harvey Weinstein narrowly evaded previous attempts to charge him because he was able to hire armies of private investigators to dig up dirt on his accusers, and smear them, and influence the DA’s office,” Farrow told Trevor Noah during an appearance on The Daily Show. “I hope that Harvey Weinstein receives a fair trial -- that means a prosecution being tough, the process being organized, and respected, and not manipulated in a way that powerful people are so often able to manipulate those processes.”
Farrow has since launched a podcast version of his novel that shines a light on those who helped him with his investigation. (Stream now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.) Twohey and Kantor, on the other hand, have given in-depth interviews about their investigation, writing their book and breaking down the Weinstein case to the Times podcast, The Daily, and Paltrow’s Goop podcast.
The first major film to come out is Untouchable, a documentary directed by Ursula Macfarlane. Her film details the sexual abuse allegations against Weinstein, while trying to contextualize the scandal by revisiting the early years of Weinstein and his brother, Bob. The film features interviews with former colleagues and accusers, including Arquette and de la Huerta. (Stream now on Hulu.)