Opening arguments and the first witness testimony should come Wednesday in Harvey Weinstein's criminal trial in New York, which brings with it the possibility of life in prison. A day earlier, Weinstein's defense team aired a strategy of injuring his accusers' credibility, claiming they boasted of having slept with the movie mogul. "They bragged about these things he allegedly forced them to do," defense lawyer Damon Cheronis said during a hearing at State Supreme Court in Manhattan, citing dozens of "loving emails." Lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said Cheronis’ description of the emails was "blatantly inaccurate." Still, jurors must "wrestle with the issue of sexual assault within an ongoing relationship," where victims may "maintain outwardly friendly relationships with their attackers," reports the New York Times.
Weinstein is charged with raping a woman in a hotel room in 2013 and forcing oral sex on another woman in his apartment in 2006. Both are set to testify in addition to four other accusers, who could help prove charges of predatory sexual assault, "which carries a maximum life sentence and requires prosecutors to show a pattern of misconduct," per the AP. Actress Annabella Sciorra is among the group, though her claim that Weinstein raped her after forcing his way into her apartment in 1993 or 1994 is outside the statute of limitations. There is no physical evidence in the trial, likely to play out over a month. It comes after Weinstein's last-minute request to move and delay the trial due to a "carnival-like atmosphere" was rejected Tuesday. The AP notes protesters' shouts of "the rapist is you!" could be heard 15 floors above street level. (Read more Harvey Weinstein stories.)