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27 of Weinstein's accusers stand in solidarity with victims as trial begins

The women - who described themselves as the 27 Silence Breakers - released a joint statement to show their support for those testifying in court.

FILE: Harvey Weinstein is escorted in handcuffs into the State Supreme Court after on Monday for arraignment on charges alleging he committed a sex crime against a third woman on 9 July 2018 in New York City. Picture: AFP

LONDON - A total of 27 of Harvey Weinstein's accusers are "standing in solidarity" against the disgraced movie mogul as his criminal trial begins in New York.

The women - who described themselves as the 27 Silence Breakers - released a joint statement to show their support for those testifying in court as Weinstein faces five counts pertaining to sexual assault, including two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of rape and one count of criminal sex act.

They said: "We stand in solidarity with Annabella Sciorra, Mimi Haleyi, Dawn Dunning and all of the women who will courageously testify against Harvey Weinstein in court. For decades, Weinstein wielded his power to mentally, physically and professionally abuse and silence women with impunity. Starting today, he will finally be forced to face his accusers and reckon with the consequences of his monstrous crimes. Whether we are in the courtroom or supporting our fellow Silence Breakers from around the world, we are all in awe of their selflessness and bravery. We will continue to support them by speaking out and telling our stories until this serial predator is brought to justice."

It comes after Weinstein's legal team claimed they have dozens of loving emails sent by the witnesses who have accused him of sexual misconduct.

The 67-year-old producer's lawyer Damon Cheronis said in court on Tuesday that he has a catalogue of letters written by the alleged victims which will "undercut" prosecutors' arguments that his client was a serial sexual predator.

He claimed one accuser sent Weinstein her new phone number after an alleged encounter, while another sent him an email asking to introduce him to her mother, explaining: "We have dozens and dozens and dozens of emails which include statements from complaining witnesses that they were involved in a relationship with Mr. Weinstein, including loving relationships and sexual encounters, and show in one case that they care about him."

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