The criminal trial of embattled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is scheduled to begin Monday, more than two years after widespread allegations of sexual violence and abuse pushed him from his powerful Hollywood pedestal.
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of serial harassment and predatory behavior over a period of decades. Among well-known actresses who have complained publicly about his unwanted sexual advances are Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Annabella Sciorra.
Three accusers from a group of women who call themselves "The Silence Breakers" spoke to Inside Edition about their plan to attend trial proceedings in New York City. Actresses Rose McGowan and Patricia Arquette also belong to the group.
"If he is found guilty and put behind bars for rape, then that will send a very strong message that will hopefully reverberate around the world," Larissa Gomes told Inside Edition. The Canadian actress claims Weinstein cornered her in a Toronto hotel room in 2000, asked to see her breasts and asked for a massage.
The #MeToo movement was launched when The New York Times and The New Yorker broke stories about the producer's alleged behavior toward women. Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sexual behavior and has pleaded not guilty to the New York charges.
He was charged in May 2018 and has been free on $1 million bail, which was recently raised to $5 million.
The Criminal Charges
Weinstein, 67, faces felony charges including two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of first-degree rape and one count of third-degree rape.
The counts stem from accusations from former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and an unnamed woman over encounters in 2006 and 2013, authorities say. Actress Sciorra, who accused Weinstein of raping her 26 years ago, is expected to testify for the prosecution. Her allegations occurred outside the state's statute of limitations.
What Comes First?
Jury selection will begin the proceedings, a process that is expected to last about two weeks. The trial is estimated to last about two months and will not be televised.
Katherine Kendall, another of "The Silence Breakers," says she also plans to attend the proceedings, but says, "I've seen him by accident a couple of times where I've run into him and my knees started to tremble, and I had to leave immediately. I felt really intimidated and unsafe and scared," she told Inside Edition.
Is This Trial Connected to the Civil Suits?
Weinstein's criminal trial is separate from a tentative settlement recently reached in connection with civil suits representing more than 30 accusers. The amount would be paid by Weinstein, The Weinstein Company, and the firm's insurers.
Where Else is Weinstein Being Investigated?
A separate criminal probe is being conducted in Los Angeles, where the district attorney's office is investigating eight allegations filed in the past few months. No criminal charges has been filed there, and prosecutors have not publicly commented on when or if such charges would be filed.