Mogul Weinstein pleads not guilty to rape charges

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of rape and sexual assault, his lawyer said, in the first cases involving the disgraced producer to be tested in criminal court since scores of accusers emerged last year

More than 70 women have accused the Miramax film studio’s co-founder of sexual misconduct, including rape, in a series of incidents dating back decades. The accusations gave rise to the #MeToo movement, which has seen hundreds of women publicly accusing powerful men in business, government and entertainment of sexual harassment and abuse.

Weinstein, 66, left Manhattan Supreme Court without speaking to reporters. Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman and Justin Henry, a spokesman for the prosecutor, confirmed that Weinstein had pleaded not guilty.

“Mr. Weinstein has denied these crimes. He has never engaged in non-consensual sex with anyone,” Brafman told reporters. “As terrible a crime as rape is, it is equally reprehensible to be falsely accused of rape. In his view, he has been falsely accused of rape.”

Weinstein turned himself in at a New York police station on May 25, and was taken to court in handcuffs for his initial arraignment. 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 was ordered to remain in New York state or Connecticut.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office did not name the two women accusing Weinstein of sexual assault in the criminal complaint filed against him following a months-long investigation with the New York Police Department.

The details of one of the cases closely align with the account of Lucia Evans, a former aspiring actress who told the New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004.

The New York Times and the New Yorker first reported the allegations against Weinstein last year.

If convicted on the most serious charges, Weinstein could face between five and 25 years in prison.

The charges against Weinstein mark the second high-profile prosecution of a once-powerful celebrity in the #MeToo era. Comedian Bill Cosby in April was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting a onetime friend, one of dozens of women who have accused the comedian and former TV star of sexual misconduct.

Other actresses who have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct include Uma Thurman and Salma Hayek.

“It’s long overdue for him to face this,” said Gloria Allred, an attorney who represents women accusing men of sexual harassment, told reporters outside the court.

She said she has at least two clients who have accused Weinstein of sexual wrongdoing.

Once a fixture of elite Manhattan and Los Angeles society, Weinstein has been ostracized since the accusations became public. He went to Arizona for sex addiction therapy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Law and Autonomous Systems Series: Defining Smart Contracts – The Search for Workable Legal Categories

This blog post tackles the problem of defining smart contracts. In particular, it reviews the existing definitions of smart contracts in some of the main laws enacted and scholarly articles…
View Post

An Unexpectedly Small Piece of Cake

One of the year’s most-watched Supreme Court controversies, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Limited v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission [No. 16-111], was never likely to deliver the full faceoff between Religious Free Exercise and Anti-Discrimination…
View Post

Caremark and Reputational Risk

Public and private businesses today face many decisions that do not arise from, and have consequences far beyond, solely financial performance. Rather, these decisions are primarily driven by, and implicate,…
View Post

EPA releases new emissions standards rollback plans; 19 state AGs promise to sue

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) formally unveiled plans [text, PDF] Thursday to rollback fuel economy standards previously aimed at bringing cars and…
View Post

Speech law makes docs on Jackson, R. Kelly tough to stop

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Denials and denunciations. Lawsuits and legal threats. Attacks and pushback. What’s a documentarian to do? While the medium is having a powerful cultural moment, documentaries’ paths…
View Post

Manafort trial begins

(Lawsiteblog) The trial [NYT report] of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort began on Tuesday. The indictment [indictment, PDF] alleges that Manafort and Richard Gates, a former deputy chair of…
View Post