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Hollywood Mogul Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty To Rape Charges

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges

of rape and sexual assaults, 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. The Weinstein Co’s board

fired him, the company filed for bankruptcy in March, and the Academy

of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him.

 

In years past, the Academy had showered him with Oscars for a string

of films that helped define independent cinema in the 1990s, including

“Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction.”

 

London’s Metropolitan Police and Los Angeles prosecutors have said

they are reviewing accusations of sexual assault against him.

 

 

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