Monday, 24 September, 2018

Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to third sexual assault charge

Harvey Weinstein arrives at court in New York Harvey Weinstein arrives at court in New York
Adrian Cunningham | 10 July, 2018, 06:50

Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood producer, pleaded not guilty to three additional sex crime charges in Manhattan Criminal Court in NY on Monday.

It was a familiar scene for the 66-year old movie mogul.

The first two cases, which allegedly took place in 2004 and 2013, involve rape and sexual assault charges. The charges are related to separate incidents in 2004, 2006 and 2013.

A handcuffed Harvey Weinstein was escorted by two police officers as he faced a judge in Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday. He looked ashen and appeared to have shed some weight from his hulking frame.

Speaking outside the courthouse, lawyer Benjamin Brafman said his client - who was described as looking "pasty and pale" by reporters - was innocent.

Weinstein, who produced movies including "Pulp Fiction" and "Shakespeare in Love", has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex, with his attorney challenging the credibility of his accusers.

However, Weinstein's career is in tatters.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they consent to being identified publicly. His accusers include prominent actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Ashley Judd.

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The women's accounts - and the public's willingness to believe them - emboldened others around the world to stand up to powerful, abusive men in what has come to be known as the #MeToo movement.

Prosecutors contend that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on the woman who was his 2006 victim. He faces a minimum of 10 years in prison if found guilty.

He was seen in Manhattan on Monday after a court appearance where he pleaded not guilty to three new charges - which have been added to the three charges he was indicted on in June. He did not elaborate on whether Weinstein was being paid for the work or whether he was working on legal cases besides his own.

He faces additional investigations in Los Angeles, London, and by the United States federal government.

Weinstein has been free on $1 million bail. Prosecutors spent most of the 20-minute hearing pushing to have the mogul placed under house arrest in New York City, a proposal that Weinstein's attorney objected to, noting that he now lives in CT.

Pale and pasty faced, the 66-year-old former Tinseltown titan was escorted by elbow into a NY courtroom in handcuffs, dressed in a dark suit, tie and white shirt.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke said that bail conditions will remain the same and Weinstein will not be under house arrest. "And the suggestion that Mr. Weinstein raped anyone, just based on what I've seen, just based on the evidence I've seen, is just a preposterous allegation", Brafman said.

The attorney said that Weinstein was trying to clear his name so he could "hopefully go back to making movies". A couple of TV satellite trucks were parked across the street, and about three dozen members of the media filled the courtroom.