LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Some of the more than 80 women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct said on Tuesday they are looking to the disgraced producer’s trial in Los Angeles to build on what they called a seismic shift in attitudes signaled by his conviction in New York.
A day after a New York jury found Weinstein, 67, guilty of rape and sexual assault – in a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement – a dozen women held an emotional news conference in Los Angeles.
“Now we know that if we dare to speak, there is a far greater chance we will be heard and our abusers will be punished,” said actress Rosanna Arquette.
“It is a historic shift that I never thought I would see in my lifetime,” added Arquette, one of a group of Weinstein’s accusers called the Silence Breakers.
Weinstein, who plans to appeal his New York conviction, was led away in handcuffs on Monday prior to sentencing on March 11, when he faces up to 29 years in prison.
Weinstein, who reportedly experienced chest pains or palpitations after the verdict, was taken to a New York hospital as a precautionary measure, his lawyer said.
Weinstein, once one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, was the key force behind acclaimed films such as “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
In January, he was charged in Los Angeles with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in the city in 2013. Weinstein has denied having nonconsensual sex with anyone; no date has been set for the Los Angeles case to begin.
“Now we can turn our attention to the upcoming trial here in Los Angeles. We have an opportunity to build on this momentum,” Canadian actress Larissa Gomes told the news conference on Tuesday.
The women praised their six peers for their bravery in testifying at the New York trial, where the accusers were grilled by Weinstein’s lawyers, who sought to portray them as using the movie mogul to advance their careers.
“Harvey, you messed with the wrong women,” said former actress and screenwriter Louisette Geiss. “We will see you here in Los Angeles, where hopefully your conviction will leave you in jail for life.”
The women reported mixed emotions on hearing about Weinstein’s conviction on Monday. For some, the verdict came more than 20 years after they say they were abused by the producer.
“Many of us didn’t think this day would come,” said television reporter Lauren Sivan. “We were actually really nervous and holding our breath because there was a very good chance he would walk.”
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Jonathan Oatis)