Hollywood on trial: Harvey Weinstein, Danny Masterson and Paul Haggis in court over sexual assault allegations


Kevin Spacey and Johnny Depp are only two recent Hollywood figures to have big wins in the courtroom following a slew of high-profile lawsuits.

Harvey Weinstein, Danny Masterson and Paul Haggis are each facing sexual assault allegations and enduring lengthy court battles with either jail terms or millions of dollars at stake.

“Scrubs” producer Eric Weinberg was recently denied bail and remains in jail until his next hearing.

Here is a look at who in Hollywood is currently on trial and their court cases: 

OPENING STATEMENTS BEGIN IN HARVEY WEINSTEIN SEXUAL ASSAULT TRIAL

The disgraced 70-year-old movie mogul is currently on trial in Los Angeles on multiple counts of rape and sexual assault. Weinstein, who is already serving a 23-year sentence for a conviction in New York, pleaded not guilty.

Weinstein was extradited to California in July 2021 to face 11 sexual assault counts made by four women in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2013. The charges include rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint and sexual penetration by use of force. 

In addition to the four accusers, four other women will testify at trial that Weinstein sexually assaulted them, though their accusations did not lead to criminal charges. In his opening presentation and a possible hint to his trial strategy, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson paired each of them to one of the other four accusers based on the similarity of their stories.

The wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, documentary filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, is among the accusers who will testify, Siebel’s attorney said.

In court on Tuesday, one of the accusers testified that she’s faced years of guilt after allegedly allowing Weinstein into her hotel room during a film festival in 2013. She recalled meeting the producer earlier in the evening, and let him into her room under the impression there wasn’t any harm. He soon became sexually aggressive.

“I was destroying myself,” she said. “I was feeling very guilty. Most of all because I opened that door.”

The woman’s name is not being revealed in court. She is being referred to as “Jane Doe 1.”

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“I was feeling guilty that I did something or said something that made him think something could happen between us,” she said.

She said Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on her hotel bed. “I was kind of hysterical through tears,” she said. “I kept saying ‘no, no no.’”

She said by the time Weinstein took her into the bathroom to rape her, she stopped physically resisting, though still objected verbally.

Weinstein attorney Mark Werksman said many of the counts his client is charged with were actually consensual sex that his accusers reframed after he became a lightning rod for the #MeToo movement in 2017. 

But Werksman denied the events of the woman testifying entirely. No records, surveillance video or other evidence places Weinstein at the woman’s hotel, Mr. C Beverly Hills, on the night she says she was raped.

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Weinstein, 70, was convicted in New York in February 2020 of forcibly performing oral sex on a TV and film production assistant, Mimi Haley, in 2006 and raping an aspiring actress in 2013. He was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault stemming from actor Annabella Sciorra’s allegations of a mid-1990s rape.

“That ‘70s Show” actor Danny Masterson is facing allegations he raped three women between 2001 and 2003. Masterson was arrested in June 2020 and has been free on a $3.3 million bond. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

One woman was a longtime girlfriend, another a close friend, and the third accuser was a new confidant.

Each of the three women were members of the Church of Scientology, like Masterson. The accusers were hesitant to file charges due to the church’s strict protocols against public involvement with member issues. 

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The women have each since left the religious group after going public with the allegations.

One of the accusers broke down on the witness stand last week as she recalled emerging from unconsciousness to Masterson allegedly raping her. “I was smothered,” she said, claiming he shoved a pillow in her face after she grabbed his hair while trying to pull him away. “I could not breathe.”

When asked by the prosecutor what she was thinking at the time, she replied: “That he was going to kill me. That I was going to die.”

Another accuser testified Masterson raped her while she was unconscious in December 2001. She alleged Scientology officials told her it was her responsibility to “give him sex whenever he wanted,” according to Variety.

“I just needed to do as I was told and I was not to tell anybody,” she said. 

In 2016, the victim disclosed to the LAPD a crime had taken place, and subsequently sued both Masterson and the Church of Scientology. She detailed how she was now the face of severe retaliation.

Masterson faces up to 45 years in prison if he’s found guilty on the three counts of rape by force or fear.

The Academy Award-winning filmmaker is being sued for sexual assault stemming from a 2013 incident where he allegedly raped freelance publicist Haleigh Breest at his apartment following a film event. 

He has maintained their sexual encounter was consensual, but multiple women have since come forward with accusations against the “Crash” director after she filed the civil lawsuit.

Breest alleges she was assaulted at Haggis’ home in Manhattan nearly a decade ago and has since suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from the incident. She came forward with her story after seeing Haggis publicly condemn Weinstein on Twitter during the height of #MeToo.

“This man raped me and he’s presenting himself as a champion for women,” Breest testified. “It made me extremely upset and want to take action.”

Breest is seeking unspecified damages in the civil suit.

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“Over the course of this trial, the jury been able to hear powerful testimony not only from Ms. Breest – but also from several other women who testified about enduring similar experiences at Paul Haggis’s hands,” her lawyer, Zoe Salzman, told Fox News Digital. 

“Following years of attempts by the Haggis team to sidestep and deflect from the serious allegations against him, Ms. Breest feels vindicated that the jury has been able to finally hear all the evidence.” 

Haggis was a Scientologist for 35 years and left the church in 2009. Shortly after the lawsuits were filed, Leah Remini and her “Scientology and the Aftermath” co-host, Mike Rinder, released a lengthy statement defending Haggis, claiming the women in question may have suspect motivations for coming forward.

Over the summer, Haggis was also placed under house arrest for 16 days in June after he was arrested on assault charges in Italy. His lawyer claimed the Oscar-winning director was “totally innocent” after reports surfaced he was arrested following reports of a “non-consensual” sexual relationship with a British woman.

“Under Italian Law, I cannot discuss the evidence,” Haggis’ lawyer Priya Chaudhry told Fox News Digital. “That said, I am confident that all allegations will be dismissed against Mr. Haggis. 

“He is totally innocent, and willing to fully cooperate with the authorities so the truth comes out quickly.” The charges were later dismissed.

Eric Weinberg, an executive producer on “Scrubs,” pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges at his arraignment Tuesday and was denied bail.

Weinberg was charged with 18 felony counts, including rape, oral copulation, forcible sexual penetration, sexual battery by restraint, false imprisonment by use of violence, assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury, and attempted forcible penetration with a foreign object, according to the district attorney’s office.

‘SCRUBS’ PRODUCER ERIC WEINBERG CHARGED WITH SEX ASSAULTS: DISTRICT ATTORNEY

The 62-year-old producer appeared in front of the judge at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center where his lawyers argued for his release before his next court appearance, scheduled for Nov. 15.

Superior Court Judge Victoria B. Wilson agreed with prosecutors who called Weinberg a potential danger to society.

He was arrested earlier this month for the alleged attacks which occurred between 2014-19. Weinberg was released on $5 million bail at the time.

“We are grateful that the court reviewed the matter and agreed with our office that bail be denied in this case. The cash bail system has nothing to do with safety,” the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office told Fox News Digital. “Under that system, people sit in jail who aren’t dangerous but are poor, and people who are wealthy and dangerous can buy their way out. Thankfully in this case Mr. Weinberg will be preventatively detained pending trial.”

Kevin Spacey was found not liable in a civil sexual misconduct suit last week. The lawsuit, filed by Anthony Rapp, sought $40 million in damages.

The former “House of Cards” actor was accused of sexually assaulting Rapp in 1986 when he was 14 years old. Spacey was 26 years old at the time of the alleged incident, and the pair were working together on a Broadway play.

Spacey, 63, and Rapp, 50, both testified during the three-week trial, with Rapp claiming he fled Spacey’s apartment after being accosted by the actor at a party. The “L.A. Confidential” star denied the altercation and said he would never be attracted to a teenager.

“Mr. Spacey is grateful to live in a country where the citizens have a right to trial by impartial jurors who make their decision based on evidence and not rumor or social media,” Spacey said through his lawyer Jennifer Keller in a statement to Fox News Digital. “He is deeply thankful to this particular jury. This was a highly educated group of six women and five men, all except one college graduate and most with graduate degrees. Their verdict was swift and decisive. Justice was done today.”

Rapp initially made the accusations against Spacey five years ago, to which Spacey issued a statement saying he didn’t remember the encounter, but also apologized for the incident. When Rapp, a star on Broadway, filed the lawsuit against Spacey in 2020, the “American Beauty” actor denied the accusations.

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Richard Steigman, Rapp’s lawyer, told Fox News Digital, “For myself, Anthony told his truth in court. While we respect the jury’s verdict, nothing changes that.” The “Star Trek: Discovery” actor’s lawyer, Peter J. Saghir, Esq., also told Fox News Digital, “We are incredibly proud of Anthony’s courage.”

Spacey is still facing another trial in London on claims he sexually assaulted multiple men in the United Kingdom while working as the artistic director at the Old Vic theater in London from 2004 through 2015. 

He pleaded not guilty in July and is expected to go on trial next year. 

In August, Spacey was ordered by a judge to pay $31 million to the producers of “House of Cards” after he was fired in 2018 following alleged sexual misconduct behind the scenes of the political drama. 

Spacey, who starred on the Netflix show from 2013-17, was accused of preying on multiple young men, including a production assistant, which prompted an investigation by the MRC production company and ultimate termination from his role as the President of the United States, Francis Underwood, in addition to any producing contracts.

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The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star was awarded $10.3 in damages this summer after arguing that ex-wife Amber Heard defamed him in a 2018 op-ed she wrote detailing domestic abuse at the hands of a former lover.

While she lost the defamation case in June, she did win a $2 million countersuit when jurors found Depp defamed her through his attorneys. 

In new documents filed earlier this month, Heard is attempting to appeal the Virginia court’s decision with a 16-point appellate brief listing “clear and convincing evidence” for actual malice, in addition to multiple claims of the court’s failure to exclude evidence at trial.

Heard and Depp married in February 2015, and she filed for divorce 15 months later in May 2016. Their divorce was finalized in January 2017, one year prior to the Washington Post’s op-ed release. 

During Depp’s recent Washington, D.C., concert with Jeff Beck, his attorney, Camille Vasquez, told Fox News Digital, “I think we are really confident in the case we put on, the verdict, and I like our chances on the appeal.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Current high-profile celebrity court cases include Harvey Weinstein, Danny Masterson, director Paul Haggis and “Scrubs” executive producer Eric Weinberg.

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