Updated October 24, 2022 at 8:46 PM ET

Opening with graphic quotes from Harvey Weinstein's accusers on Monday, referred to as Jane Does 1-4, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson described Weinstein as a domineering media mogul at the top of his game, who used his prominence in the film industry to coerce aspiring actors into private meetings that quickly turned violent.

Weinstein is in Los Angeles for his second criminal trial, having been extradited from New York, where he's serving a 23-year sentence. This trial has even more accusers who recount Weinstein as an alleged sexual predator.

"I'm shaking and kind of being dragged into the bedroom," Thompson quoted one accuser saying.

"Part of me was thinking I should just make a run for it, but he's a big guy," he quoted another one saying.

"I was trying to convince him that it's nothing gonna happen... I was like please, I have kids," Thompson recounted for the jury.

Eight women will testify against Weinstein- the four Jane Does, and four other women who will attest to "prior bad acts" committed by Weinstein outside of Los Angeles. His accusers include the Governor of California's wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who was a "powerless actor trying to make her way in Hollywood" when Weinstein allegedly assaulted her in a hotel room during a 2005 film festival.

"Weinstein said 'it was completely normal, he'd done it with so many people,'" Thompson said, quoting Jane Doe 3, a licensed massage therapist who was allegedly assaulted and forced to watch Weinstein masturbate on several occasions.

Prosecutors also mentioned that each of the women can describe "abnormalities" on Weinstein's genitalia, "the result of a surgery the defendant had in 1999" that caused noticeable scarring.

Weinstein did not display any reaction to prosecutors' opening statements. The 70-year-old, who is said to be in poor health, was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair and slightly struggled to move to a seat at the defense table.

Weinstein's attorney, Mark Werksman, told the jury the prosecution's opening arguments were designed to "shock and awe," and said the allegations are "weak and unsubstantiated."

"You'll learn that in Hollywood, sex was a commodity," Werksman said. He defended Weinstein's actions as part of a "casting couch culture."

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all 11 of the charges. If found guilty in Los Angeles, Weinstein could face a maximum sentence of 140 years.

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Harvey Weinstein and his attorneys were in a Los Angeles courtroom today for the opening statements of his new sexual assault trial. He's already serving a 23-year prison sentence for a conviction in New York state. In the California trial, he faces up to 140 years.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco is outside the courthouse. I want to warn people we will be talking about details of sexual assault. Hey there, Mandalit.


KELLY: OK, so opening statements today - give us a readout on what each side said.

DEL BARCO: OK. So well, LA's deputy district attorney told jurors they'll be hearing from eight women who say they were assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. Four are from Los Angeles, four are from outside the area, and each of them came forward independently. The prosecutor started off with some rather graphic quotes from them, describing things they say Weinstein did to them or made them do between 2004 and 2013. He quoted one of the alleged victims saying, I'm shaking and I kind of - and I'm kind of being dragged to the bedroom. Another said, please stop. I don't want this. What are you doing? And another said, I was trying to convince him that's it - that it's not going to happen. I was like, please, I have kids. And those were just the quotes that you can say on the radio, but others were even more graphic.

And the prosecutor talked about how frightened the women had been of Harvey Weinstein's stature. He's - they described him as an intimidating and powerful man in Hollywood - a king and a sexual predator. Here's another quote - "he's big, he's broad, he's overweight, he's domineering."

KELLY: I want to focus on these women - the eight women you said the jury is going to hear from. Can you tell us more about who they are?

DEL BARCO: Sure. Well, some of them are fashion models, actresses, a licensed massage therapist, and there's also Jennifer Siebel Newsom, an actress and documentary filmmaker. She is married to California Governor Gavin Newsom. Prosecutors say that she met with him - with Weinstein in 2005, when she was making her way in Hollywood, meeting for what she thought was a business meeting, during which time his aides apparently - or reportedly left them alone, and he then sexually assaulted her after he allegedly referred to A-list actresses whose careers he supposedly made.

You know, the prosecutor said this was a pattern for Weinstein, meeting aspiring actresses and other women at awards ceremonies and film festivals and industry parties, luring them into bathrooms or hotel rooms, isolated for his assaults. The deputy DA said these women are able to describe Weinstein's private parts and how they were scarred from surgery. The prosecutor also played a recording in which one of the alleged victims secretly got Weinstein to talk about some of what he had done. And some of these women didn't come forward with the allegations until The New Yorker and The New York Times broke the news and the MeToo movement began.

KELLY: Oh, of course. Harvey Weinstein - I said he was there. How did he look?

DEL BARCO: Well, you know, he was wheeled into the courtroom in a wheelchair. He was not in prison gear, but in a dark suit and tie. Here in California, Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to counts of what the law calls forcible rape, oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint and sexual penetration by use of force. Weinstein's attorneys say that the 70-year-old is not in good health. And since he was put away, he's had COVID, he had a heart procedure, he now has diabetes and is technically blind. His lawyers told the LA judge they're worried he might have a heart attack or a stroke.

KELLY: All right. So that is NPR's Mandalit del Barco. She is, as you can hear, outside the LA courthouse for the Harvey Weinstein trial. Thanks, Mandalit.

DEL BARCO: Sure thing. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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