The criminal case against Harvey Weinstein begins today. This is separate from the civil case that resulted in a $25 million settlement to be split among over 30 alleged victims. Here's what you need to know.
This story contains discussions of sexual assault. This is also a developing story and may be updated.
Weinstein is facing life in prison.
Weinstein is charged with "forcing oral sex on a film production assistant and raping another woman, who is still anonymous," reports the New York Times. Under the law, these are acts of predatory sexual assault, explains Fortune, and a guilty finding would result in a mandatory life sentence for the disgraced film producer.
Who are Weinstein's victims?
Weinstein has been accused of acts ranging from sexual harassment to rape by many alleged victims, including Cara Delevingne, actress Rose McGowan, and Annabella Sciorra. In total, there are 95 women who have accused Weinstein.
For the purposes of the criminal trial, there are two victims — both are anonymous, and one of them has not publicly accused Weinstein. As the Times notes, "her story is not publicly known."
Some of Weinstein's accusers will be allowed to testify in open court.
In order to establish a pattern of predatory behavior, several of Weinstein's alleged victims will be allowed to testify in open court. To be clear, their testimony is not part of the criminal charges, though the prosecution will use their words to prove that Weinstein's predation goes back many years and his MO is consistent among victims.
The trial is going to take some time.
The first step of any criminal trial is jury selection. In this case, jury selection is expected to take up to two weeks, due to the high-profile nature of the case. The Times reports that 2,000 summons were sent out to New York City residents; 12 jurors will ultimately be selected for the trial.
As for the trial itself, it could take up to six weeks.
As for Weinstein's response ...
Weinstein has previously denied all allegations. Weinstein's attorney, Dana Rotunno, told the Times that "These are women who spent time with him over periods of time, and I think we have evidence to show that the time was nothing but positive and favorable." Revelist has reached out to Weinstein's representatives for comment.
UPDATE: Here's what happened inside the courtroom on day 1 of the trial.
Deadline has a report from inside the courtroom on day 1 of the Weinstein trial. As victim supporters gathered around a press conference of survivors, inside, Judge James Burke told Weinstein's entourage to "leave the victims alone."
Otherwise, the day seemed full of procedural activities, such as "pitched discussion over evidence and discovery being handed to the defense by the District Attorney’s office," according to Deadline's report. The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, criticized the defense for not reciprocating, in terms of turning over evidence to the prosecution. "The defense has not provided a single piece of discovery to us nor have they provided a witness list," she said.
Justice Burke also decided not to sequester the jury, as famously occurred in the O.J. Simpson trial. This means that the jurors will be free to go home after the day's proceedings.