Fallen film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been charged in New York with two sexual assaults, returns to court on Monday, August 26, to be informed of a new indictment against him. The Manhattan public prosecutor's office said it had obtained a new indictment in this case, which became emblematic of the #MeToo movement, without revealing its content.

The co-founder of Miramax Studios and The Weinstein Company, long a powerful Hollywood figure, was hitherto prosecuted only for two alleged assaults, a sexual assault in 2006 on a production assistant, and a rape in 2013 on a woman remained anonymous. But the new indictment would include the testimony of actress Annabella Sciorra, known for the series "The Sopranos", according to some American media.

By October 2017, in a New Yorker article that helped trigger the #MeToo movement, she accused Weinstein of raping her in 1993 at her home in Manhattan. The actress reportedly contacted the prosecutor too late for her allegations, too old, appear in the previous indictment, explained the prosecutor responsible for the case in a letter to the judge quoted by the New York Times. The prosecutor had nevertheless asked the judge to be able to call Annabella Sciorra as a witness at the trial.

The judge, James Burke, refused at first, on the grounds that the actress had not previously testified before a grand jury, as is the American procedure. The prosecutor would therefore hope, with the new indictment, to get a green light from the actress's testimony.

How many accusers allowed to testify ?

According to US media reports, partially confirmed by defense lawyers, the new act is intended to allow the prosecution to score points on the key issue of the number of Harvey Weinstein's accusers who will be allowed to testify at the trial. trial, scheduled to start on 9 September with jury selection.

The number of accusers allowed to testify could be instrumental in convincing jurors to convict Weinstein, as shown by the 2018 conviction of comedian Bill Cosby for sexual assault.

The ousted 67-year-old producer, who has always ensured that his sexual relations were granted and should again plead not guilty on Monday, has been accused of sexual abuse ranging from harassment to rape by more than 80 women, including many celebrities. Pending Monday's hearing, Harvey Weinstein's lawyers have called this new indictment a "desperate" maneuver for the prosecution, and warned they would seek a reversal of the prosecution.

With AFP