A Hollywood producer charged with sex crimes was remanded into custody Tuesday after a judge characterized him as a potential danger to society.
Eric Weinberg, best known for his work as co-executive producer of the TV show “Scrubs,” was led away in handcuffs by a deputy after pleading not guilty to 18 felony counts of rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery, false imprisonment, assault by means to cause great bodily harm and sexual penetration by a foreign object.
Weinberg was rearrested this month after prosecutors expanded previous charges against him to include the claims of five additional women. He had been free in lieu of $5-million bail following an arrest in July.
More than half a dozen women have made allegations over the last seven years that Weinberg, 62, lured them to his home, often under the guise of a photo shoot, before restraining and sexually assaulting them, according to police interviews and records obtained by The Times.
Calling him a danger to society and specific women, Deputy Dist. Atty. Marlene Martinez told a judge that Weinberg used his status as a Hollywood producer and writer to “manipulate these women.” In requesting that he be remanded, she said he is a flight risk and needs to be locked up.
Martinez said that in addition to the five Jane Doe victims included in the charges against Weinberg, at least two other women have made allegations that are being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, and the department has received 70 tips.
Philip Cohen, an attorney for Weinberg, said his client has proved he is not a flight risk as he has been under investigation for some time and remained in the jurisdiction. Cohen argued that electronic monitoring and house arrest were viable alternatives.
Weinberg initially was arrested July 14 in connection with allegations of sexual assault, including rape, between 2012 and 2019. LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz said the department identified at least eight women Weinberg may have victimized.
Following that arrest, he was released in lieu of $3.5-million bail before being arrested a second time Oct. 4 under more expansive charges, with bail increased to $5 million.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Victoria Wilson agreed Tuesday with the prosecutor, calling Weinberg a potential serial rapist. She rejected the suggestion of holding him in his home, noting that it is where some of the alleged crimes occurred.
Weinberg’s lawyers have denied all wrongdoing on the part of their client, calling the women’s declarations a “blatant smear campaign” with “unconscionable and unsubstantiated allegations” that are designed to portray him in the “most horrendous light.”
Micha Star Liberty, a Bay Area civil rights attorney who represents some of the accusers, said in a statement that she was “grateful that the district attorney has acted in furtherance of accountability.”
“The significant number of victims and the horrific impact inflicted upon those women will not go unremediated,” she said. “We will not rest until there is justice.”
According to police and court records, Weinberg lured women from coffee bars, supermarkets and a Los Feliz pie shop to his Edgemont Street home. Detectives have said Weinberg would approach women in their 20s and 30s and set up photo shoots with them. Sometimes he talked about his career in Hollywood.
After one encounter, a woman began using a Facebook group to warn others about Weinberg’s alleged behavior, according to a declaration filed in family court. Los Angeles police had investigated Weinberg on suspicion of sexual assault on two occasions before his July arrest, records show.
LAPD investigators previously presented cases to prosecutors involving allegations that Weinberg raped women in April and August of 2014, but the district attorney’s office declined to prosecute, citing insufficient evidence, according to court records and police.
Weinberg worked as a producer or screenwriter on 92 episodes of “Scrubs” from 2001 to 2007. He also served as a producer on “Veronica’s Closet,” “Californication” and “Anger Management,” as well as “Men at Work,” which starred Danny Masterson, who has also been charged with sexual abuse of women. Masterson is on trial for rape in the same downtown courthouse and is also represented by Cohen.
This story originally appeared on LATimes