Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial in New York begins this week but the movie mogul says he expects to be “fully exonerated.’’
More than 80 women have come forward with sexual-misconduct allegations against him.
Weinstein has denied any wrongdoing and claimed all sexual encounters were consensual.
“I am expecting the truth to be told and the facts to be fully explored, and yes, I am expecting to be fully exonerated,” Weinstein told Fox News via email.
He said he has been preparing for his trial “by spending time with my family, close friends, and loved ones, and working closely with my legal and communication team.”
While rumors had long circulated about the producer’s alleged misconduct, it was the investigations of The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017 that widely exposed many long-buried accusations.
Women from all over the world have continued to come forward, helping spark the #MeToo movement and so-called “Weinstein effect.”
By May 2018, police arrested Weinstein on criminal charges in New York.
“The past two years, especially with the onset of my medical issues, have been overwhelming,
filled with soul searching and an abundance of self-awareness. I want to spend more time with my children to be a better father, and to be more patient and attentive to others around me,” Weinstein said.
The criminal charges stemmed from only two accusers; many of the allegations against the Hollywood producer were too old to support a formal indictment.
However, many accusers have seen this trial as “critical” to bringing change to the culture in Hollywood and the workplace.
A group of 25 women who called themselves “the silence breakers,” including actresses Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette, issued a statement ahead of his trial.
“Weinstein is a serial predator who sexually abused women for decades, taking advantage of his power and connections to systematically silence the women who could bring his crimes to light.”
They continued; “This trial is critical to show that predators everywhere will be held accountable and that speaking up can bring about real change.
“We refuse to be silenced and will continue to speak out until this unrepentant abuser is brought to justice.”
Harvey Weinstein is facing life in prison on five counts including predatory sexual assault, a criminal sexual act in the first degree, rape in the first degree and rape in the third degree.
He said he’s looking forward for this trial to be over.
“With my trial close, I am looking forward to setting the record straight and moving ahead with my life.”