Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to additional sex crime charges
Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood producer, pleaded not guilty to three additional sex crime charges in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on Monday.
Weinstein, 66, was indicted last week by a grand jury on one count of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree and two counts of felony predatory sexual assault.
He had already pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape and one first-degree criminal sex act charge, and he is out on $1 million cash bail. Weinstein was allowed to remain out on the same bail conditions, attorney Benjamin Brafman said outside court.
“The more I investigate the case, the more I realize that the charges that are currently in the indictment are very defensible indeed,” Brafman said.
“Any suggestion that Mr. Weinstein raped anyone, based on the overwhelming evidence that I have in my possession already, is a ludicrous suggestion, and Mr. Weinstein has of course also vigorously denied that suggestion.”
In all, Weinstein now faces six felony charges relating to three women: two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. The charges are related to separate incidents in 2004, 2006 and 2013.
“A Manhattan Grand Jury has now indicted Harvey Weinstein on some of the most serious sexual offenses that exist under New York’s Penal Law,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement. “This indictment is the result of the extraordinary courage exhibited by the survivors who have come forward.”
Gloria Allred, who said she represented the unnamed third alleged victim in Weinstein’s case, challenged Brafman to put Weinstein on the witness stand to defend himself.
“Are you really willing to roll the dice and hope and pray that your client will be able to answer questions under oath not only about this alleged third victim, but about other alleged victims as well?” the attorney told reporters outside the court. “I doubt that you will take that risk, Mr. Brafman.”
Weinstein was one of the most powerful figures in the film industry until last year, when The New Yorker and The New York Times published accounts from several women accusing him of various forms of sexual assault and misconduct.
Since then, more than 40 women, including actresses Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company, which has since filed for bankruptcy and been sold off.
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.
Brafman said he anticipated that more charges may be filed in the case.
“If there’s more, we’ll deal with them as they come,” he said.