In a dramatic moment at the Clara Shortridge Foltz courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, Scrubs executive producer Eric Weinberg was remanded into custody when presiding judge Virginia Wilson agreed with the prosecutor that he remains an active and credible societal danger. Through his attorney, Weinberg pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of sexual assault. He was previously free on $5 million bail.
Initially standing before the judge, Weinberg crumpled onto the wooden bench behind him as Wilson declared that “the defendant has engaged in a pattern of violence towards women for over six years.”
Weinberg stands accused of 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 and one count each of assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury, attempted sexual penetration by use of force and false imprisonment by violence. If found guilty of the charges, he faces over 100 years in prison.
Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez told the court, “We believe [Weinberg] is a danger to society,” adding, “He approached any young female and uses his status as a writer-producer to manipulate these women.”
Weinberg’s defense attorney Philip Cohen argued against detaining his client, instead proposing less-restrictive measures like “no social media use, no talking to any female people you don’t know, no going to certain locations.” Cohen said the court could even impose home arrest.
Judge Wilson dismissed the suggestions and pointed out that the “offenses occurred in the safety and privacy of his home.”
Since his initial arrest in July, Martinez told the court the LAPD has received over 70 tips about Weinberg and is currently interviewing more alleged victims. Two sheriff’s deputies led Weinberg out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
Martinez did not have a comment immediately following the hearing.
Micha Star Liberty, a lawyer for the victims, told The Hollywood Reporter, “Justice was served today. It’s very satisfying that the judge found enough factual allegations to declare Mr. Weinberg a serial rapist.”
Weinberg was first arrested in July for allegations of sexual assault.
In a recent investigation, more than two dozen women spoke with THR alleging a pattern of predatory behavior and misconduct going back as early as 2000, including claims involving minors.
Women described how Weinberg would use photography as a pretense to get closer to them, often listing his Hollywood credits in order to establish credibility and trust. Some say Weinberg would pressure them during shoots into taking off clothing. Multiple women also described Weinberg as engaging in sexual activity without their consent, frequently photographing the acts as they took place.
Four floors above the downtown courtroom where Weinberg was arraigned, disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein and actor Danny Masterson sat accused of rape in trials of their own. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges of rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual battery. He is already serving a 23-year prison sentence after being found guilty of sexual assault in New York.
Masterson appeared in court over claims that he raped three women between 2001 and 2003. Masterson, who starred on the hit sitcom That ‘70s Show, pleaded not guilty. The actor also appeared in the comedy Men at Work, which Weinberg wrote for and co-executive produced for one season in 2012.
Martinez, the prosecutor trying Weinberg’s case, is co-chair in the Weinstein case. Cohen, Weinberg’s own defense attorney, also represents Masterson.
Weinberg was arrested for the first time in 2014 after then 22-year-old Kayra Raecke alleged to LAPD that Weinberg had raped her during a photo shoot at his Los Feliz home. During the shoot, she told THR, Weinberg removed her clothes and assaulted her. A police report taken shortly after the alleged incident describes how Weinberg “with one hand began choking Kayra and taking photos.”
Raecke’s report triggered an investigation and Weinberg’s arrest. In June 2014, an LAPD detective submitted the case to the district attorney’s office, where Deputy District Attorney Teresa de Castro declined to prosecute, citing “insufficient evidence.”
Again, in 2016, law enforcement recommended charges against Weinberg to the district attorney’s office for an alleged nonconsensual sexual encounter with an unnamed woman that took place in 2014, again during a photo shoot at his home. While the deputy district attorney in the case noted in the charge evaluation worksheet that Weinberg had “been investigated for the same conduct involving a separate victim” and characterized Weinberg’s conduct as “inappropriate,” he nonetheless declined to pursue charges.
Raecke and dozens of others with similar stories became aware of each other in 2020 after seeing Facebook posts by artist Claire Wilson, who had met Weinberg on OkCupid in December 2019.
Weinberg was as a steady presence in writers rooms from the late 1990s to 2016. Most notably, he worked on the hit NBC show Scrubs from 2002 to 2006, with credits as co-executive producer on over 100 episodes. He held the same position for one season of Showtime’s David Duchovny vehicle Californication, as well as FX’s Anger Management starring Charlie Sheen. He received five Emmy nominations for his work on Scrubs and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher.