According to prosecutors at the trial in Los Angeles, Harvey Weinstein abused his power to lock women in hotel rooms and raped them.
The disgraced film producer is facing 11 charges of rape and forced oral sex related to allegations by women who say they were assaulted between 2004 and 2015.
Weinstein’s accusers incited the #MeToo movement more than five years ago and he is serving a 23-year prison sentence after being found guilty by a New York court of rape and sexual assault in 2020.
The Los Angeles trial is considered by many to be symbolic – but it took on much greater significance when Weinstein was launched on an appeal against his charges in New York.
If he wins that appeal, his future freedom will likely be decided by a jury in Los Angeles.
They heard the prosecution’s opening statement, issued by Paul Thompson, which detailed disturbing charges against the 70-year-old.
He began with a series of statements from the alleged victims.
Some describe the victim’s fear of Weinstein’s scale.
“Part of me was thinking whether to run away or not, but he’s a big guy. He’s big. He’s wide. He’s overweight. He’s domineering.”
Another series of quotes were made about victims begging Weinstein to stop.
“Please stop, I don’t want this. What are you doing?”, one quote reads.
“I tried to convince him that it’s not going to happen… I’m so glad I have kids,” another said.
“I told him to stop. I told him to get out of the bathroom. And he didn’t. He just kept walking towards me,” read a third.
Mr Thompson said whistleblowers were “afraid that he could ruin their careers if they reported what he had done”.
Three of the alleged victims remain anonymous – they were Jane Doe 1, a model and actress living in Italy at the time; Jane Doe 2, a 23-year-old model and aspiring screenwriter; and Jane Doe 3, a licensed massage therapist.
One of the alleged victims, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, has given up her identity.
She is currently a documentary filmmaker and the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.
But 17 years ago, when she met Weinstein, she was a “helpless actress trying to find her way in Hollywood,” prosecutors said.
Newsom will testify that she met Weinstein at the Toronto International Film Festival and then invited him to a party attended by many others at her home in West Hollywood.
Weinstein then invited Ms Newsom to “discuss her career” at the Peninsula Hotel, the court heard.
She sat on the couch and waited for Weinstein, who entered the room dressed in business attire with five or six other people.
“But to her surprise, the aides quickly left,” said Mr Thompson, prosecutor.
“Harvey Weinstein went to the bathroom, then he summoned her. She went to him and saw him wearing a bathrobe.
Mr Thompson said: ‘She was shocked and her head spinning, alleging that Weinstein had forced Ms Newsom into bed, ‘crying and shaking’.
“She couldn’t utter a word out of fear,
“Weinstein told her to ‘relax, this will make her feel better’.”
Prosecutors allege Weinstein then forced her to perform oral sex and then raped her.
In total, eight women will testify that they were sexually assaulted by Weinstein.
The trial is expected to last another six weeks.