Tuesday, 18 September, 2018

'We begin our fight now': Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty

Harvey Weinstein Handcuffed Sipa via AP Images
Nellie Chapman | 09 June, 2018, 02:44

Weinstein, 66, has said through his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, that he has never had non-consensual sex and plans to plead not guilty.

If found guilty, the Oscar victor, 66, could face up to 25 years in prison.

Weinstein, who appeared in court in a dark blazer, jeans and a tie, uttered only a few words at the brief arraignment hearing in Manhattan.

Over the past six months, Weinstein and ex-wife Georgina Chapman, co-founder of fashion house Marchesa and a judge on "Project Runway All Stars", have liquidated most if not all of their homes for a total of more than $53 million. Appearing on "TODAY" this morning for her first televised interview since coming forward with her own allegations against Harvey Weinstein past year, and the Oscar-winning actress offered a hopeful, if pragmatic answer as to how she felt seeing the former producer arrested and arraigned late last month.

The allegations sparked a wave of "national reckoning" against sexual harassment and assault in the United States, known as the Weinstein effect.

Brafman says the rape complaint came from a woman who had a 10-year affair with Weinstein, but the information was not confirmed.

The criminal sex act charge against Weinstein stems from an encounter with Lucia Evans, who told The New Yorker and then investigators from the Manhattan district attorney's office that Hollywood producer forced her to perform oral sex on him during what she thought would be a casting meeting.

A judge last month ordered Weinstein to submit to round-the-clock Global Positioning System monitoring, and ordered him to restrict his travel to NY and CT. Many other women in the film industry subsequently reported similar experiences with Weinstein, who denied raping the women. Boyce told ABC News. The accusations gave rise to the #MeToo movement. "Mr. Weinstein is presumed to be innocent", he said. A judge ordered him released on a $1 million cash bail on condition that he surrender his U.S. passport and agree to wear a location-tracking device.

He is also under criminal investigation in London and Los Angeles, but the criminal charges in NY were the first to be lodged.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is now reviewing five investigations into the 66-year-old - two brought by Beverly Hills police and three that were investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department's elite Robbery-Homicide Division. But since The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults unless they come forward publicly, the identity of only one of those victims is known.