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Actress Rosanna Arquette, center, speaks with members of the media after former Weinstein Co. Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein arrives at the New York state Supreme Court on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. Weinstein's criminal trial, on five felony counts, including predatory sexual assault and rape, is scheduled to begin on Monday. Jury selection could last two weeks, the trial six more. (Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Weinstein Accusers Gather at New York Courthouse to Witness 'Moment of Justice' Two Years After #MeToo Movement Began

"This trial is critical to show that predators everywhere will be held accountable and that speaking up can bring about real change."

Julia Conley

Women's rights advocates called the first day of former film executive Harvey Weinstein's criminal trial on Monday a "moment of justice" and reckoning, more than two years after accusations of sexual assault and harassment against Weinstein set off the global #MeToo movement.

Eight of Weinstein's more than 80 accusers assembled outside a New York City courthouse as the trial began to show support for the two women whose allegations against the producer led to his criminal charges.

Most of Weinstein's accusers, actress Rose McGowan told the press, "won't even have one day in court."

"Today Lady Justice is staring down a super predator," McGowan said. "I came here today to see this through. I came here today to stand side by side with these other women who you also harmed."

"You thought you could terrorize me and others into silence," she added, addressing Weinstein. "You were wrong."

Jury selection in the trial is set to begin Tuesday. Weinstein faces up to 25 years in prison for one count of rape and one count of a criminal sexual act for assaulting two women. He could also face life in prison for committing sex crimes against multiple people. Weinstein claims the encounters in question were consensual.

On Friday, 25 of Weinstein's accusers released a statement calling the trial a major moment in the #MeToo movement, which began when women including Ashley Judd, Asia Argento, and Mira Sorvino went public in October 2017 about the producer's decades of abuse.

"The world will be watching as Harvey Weinstein walks into court to stand trial for a fraction of the egregious crimes he has committed," the group, called the Silence Breakers, wrote. "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."

Observers on social media applauded the "unimaginable bravery" of the women expected to testify against Weinstein in the coming weeks—including actress Annabella Sciorra, who has accused him of rape—and those who "ignited a global reckoning with sexual harassment."

As Weinstein arrived at the courthouse on Monday, he was greeted by demonstrators holding signs that read, "Listen to Survivors" and "Coercion Is Not Consent."

"As we stand here at the beginning of a new year and the beginning of a new decade, time's up," actress Rosanna Arquette said Monday. "Time's up on sexual harassment in all workplaces. Time's up on blaming survivors. Time's up on empty apologies without consequences and time's up on the pervasive culture of silence that has enabled abusers like Weinstein."

Hours after the trial began, prosecutors in Los Angeles unsealed their own indictment of Weinstein, charging him with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents in 2013.

At New York magazine, journalist Irin Carmon reported after the trial was underway that she had been sent a 57-page PowerPoint presentation by Weinstein's publicist entitled "The Proper Narrative for Addressing the Harvey Weinstein Case." The document contained opposition research about Weinstein's accusers, which his team is reportedly sending to members of the press.

The legal aid organization Time's Up called the document an example of "the outrageous attacks" Weinstein's accusers have faced.

The "proper narrative," the group wrote, is that "Weinstein is credibly accused of sexual misconduct by at least 100 brave women."

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