Prosecutors: 'Harvey Weinstein abused Hollywood power to become serial sexual predator'

Prosecutors: 'Harvey Weinstein abused Hollywood power to become serial sexual predator'

Harvey Weinstein abused his position as the "powerbroker of Hollywood" for decades to prey on "naive and inexperienced" women, prosecutors alleged during opening statements in his rape trial.

The disgraced producer stands accused of committing sexual assaults in New York in the 1990s, 2006, and 2013, and as his trial kicked off on Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast didn't hold back as she went into graphic detail about each of the alleged encounters.

Describing Weinstein as a "famous and powerful Hollywood producer" who was also a "sexual predator and a rapist", Hast outlined his reported pattern of behaviour to jurors at Manhattan Supreme Court.

"Different women from different places, decades apart with the same crime," she declared.

"They will each describe to you their fear, their shame and their humiliation that they each wrestled with following the violent encounters with the defendant... each feeling small and insignificant, no match for the powerbroker of Hollywood."

Hast continued, "The defendant knew he was preying on the naive and inexperienced. These were not mutual adult relationships. These young women were pawns being pushed around by the defendant."

She then described how Weinstein allegedly raped The Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra in either 1993 or 1994, when he forced his way into her Manhattan apartment.

"He pinned her arms above her head and despite her verbal and physical attempts to stop him, he continued to hold her down, inserted his penis into her vagina and raped her," Hast said.

She noted that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on Sciorra - just like he reportedly did with production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006, before she also claimed he raped her during a subsequent incident in a Los Angeles hotel room.

The third victim, whose identity remains under wraps, has accused Weinstein of twice assaulting her in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 - during which the fallen movie mogul is said to have injected himself with a drug in order to hold an erection.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to five felony counts of rape and sexual assault, maintaining all sexual contact was consensual.

The 67 year old faces life behind bars if convicted.


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