TV producer Eric Weinberg charged with multiple counts of rape and sexual battery

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The Guardian

Eric Weinberg, a veteran television producer and writer who worked on shows including Scrubs and Californication, has been arrested and charged with 18 counts including rape, sexual battery and false imprisonment by violence.

The 61-year-old was initially arrested at his Los Angeles home in July and released on $3.2m bond. On Tuesday, he was arrested again and later released on $5m bond.

“The defendant relied on his Hollywood credentials to lure young women for photo shoots where he allegedly sexually assaulted them,” LA district attorney George Gascón said at a press conference on Wednesday. “Power and influence can corrupt some to hurt others that often leads to a lifetime of trauma for those who are victimised.”

The 18 charges against Weinberg relate to a series of sexual assaults that police allege occurred between 2014 and 2019. On Wednesday, prosecutors said “dozens” of women had come forward since news of Weinberg’s arrest in July first broke, when he was charged with more counts of sexual assault, dating back to 2012.

In the indictment, police allege Weinberg singled out women in their 20s and 30s “in grocery stores, coffee shops and other public places” and would attempt to convince them to participate in a photo shoot. If the women agreed, police said he then allegedly assaulted them during photo shoots organised in his home.

The 18 charges announced on Wednesday include six counts of sexual penetration by use of force, four counts of oral copulation, three counts of forcible rape, two counts of sexual battery by restraint, one count of assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury, one count of attempted sexual penetration by use of force, and one count of false imprisonment by violence.

Gascón said his office asked that Weinberg remain in detention without bail but that a judge denied the request. Weinberg is now out of custody ahead of his arraignment on 25 October.

“If you’re wealthy, you get to bail out. If you’re poor, you get to stay in regardless of the seriousness of the offense,” said Gascón.

“We’re hoping that there are other victims out there that will come forward. We know there are many more,” he added.

In September, more than 20 women spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about their alleged encounters with Weinberg, accusing him of a pattern of predatory behavior and misconduct. Multiple women accused Weinberg of initiating sexual activity without their consent during photo shoots, with some alleging he photographed the acts as they took place.

Lawyers for Weinberg have been contacted by the Guardian.

In a statement addressing the allegations in the Hollywood Reporter’s investigation, Weinberg’s attorney dismissed the claims as “strategically placed criminal allegations” stemming from “a heavily litigated and acrimonious custody dispute”. Weinberg’s wife Hilary Bidwell filed for divorce in 2020 after she allegedly discovered inside Weinberg’s golf bag a handwritten log of women’s names, their routines and locations where they could be found.

“These claims have previously been investigated and reviewed by both law enforcement and the LA family court and the results have continued to unveil a myriad of evidence, documentation and expert analysis that wholly undermine the narrative now being promulgated,” Weinberg’s attorney said in July.

Weinberg was first arrested in 2014, when a 22-year-old alleged he had raped her during a photo shoot in his home. According to district attorney documents, Weinberg told investigators that it was a “consensual sexual encounter”. In June that year, the district attorney’s office declined to prosecute, citing “insufficient evidence”.

October 6, 2022 at 01:27PM Sian Cain

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