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Harvey Weinstein charged with rape and other abuse charges in sexual assault cases



NEW YORK — Harvey Weinstein was arrested and charged with rape and other abuse charges Friday, months after allegations of sexual violence and harassment toppled the once-powerful Hollywood mogul.

Weinstein, 66, was charged with rape, criminal sex act, sexual abuse and sexual misconduct for cases involving two women. “This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” the prosecutor, Assistant District Atty. Joan llluzzi, said as she read the charges in New York Criminal Court.

Weinstein’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said to reporters on Friday that he plans to plead not guilty — and his legal team will fight to dismiss the charges. “These charges, we believe that they are constitutionally flawed,” he said. “We believe that at the end of the process Mr Weinstein will be exonerated.

Weinstein was charged with three felonies — rape in the first degree, rape in the third degree and a criminal sexual act in the first degree — “for forcible sexual acts against two women in 2013 and 2004, respectively,” Vance’s office said Friday morning.

In the complaint, a New York Police detective stated that in 2004, Weinstein forced a woman to engage in oral sex with him, physically shoving her head downward. The detective also said that in 2013, Weinstein kept a woman in a room against her will “and engaged in sexual intercourse with informant by forcible compulsion,” even though she had “clearly expressed her lack of consent to the act.”

After his arraignment on Friday morning, Weinstein posted $1 million bail and surrendered his passport. He will wear an electronic monitoring device at all times, and face other travel restrictions.

“Today’s charges reflect significant progress in this active, ongoing investigation,” Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, said in a statement after the arraignment. “I thank the brave survivors who have come forward, and my office’s prosecutors who have worked tirelessly on this investigation.” Vance also urged other survivors to contact them.

“We got you, Harvey Weinstein, we got you,” actor Rose McGowan tweeted on Friday, as Weinstein sat in court. McGowan accused Weinstein of rape, one of dozens of Hollywood women to accuse the producer of sexual misconduct. Asia Argento, who has also accused Weinstein of rape, tweeted a live feed of Weinstein’s “perp walk” on Friday morning.


“Today Harvey Weinstein will take his first step on his inevitable descent to hell. We, the women, finally have real hope for justice,” Argento wrote in another tweet.

Weinstein made no comment as he walked into the 1st Precinct police station in Manhattan at about 7:30 a.m, to surrender to authorities. About an hour later, he left the police station in handcuffs, to be driven to court.

The disgraced producer’s walk into the courthouse was a grim inversion of the red carpets he’d walk at the height of his power. Handcuffed and silent, he ignored a a lineup of reporters snapping photos and shouting questions.

Weinstein was taken to the courtroom about a half mile away for arraignment. With his arm held by a detective, Weinstein was brought in a back entrance of the courtroom and walked in a half-circle; he dazedly looked around the room and appeared to mouth the word “wow” as he entered.

Brafman could soon be seen carrying Weinstein’s passport, which he would later hand over to Illuzzi in court.

His arrest came months after Vance’s office reportedly launched an investigation into allegations of sexual assault. Police officials said the arrest and charges stemmed from a joint investigation between the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

For a Hollywood community that is accustomed to Weinstein as a powerful figure — the producer who helped the art house go mainstream with hits such as “The English Patient,” “The King’s Speech” and “Pulp Fiction” — the sight of him being led around a courtroom was a jarring one.W earing a dark jacket draped over a baby-blue sweater, he seemed unsure on his feet and offered a mile-long stare as he turned to face the gallery before the proceeding.

As he exited the courtroom, however, he seemed to spring to life, even backslapping a man in the gallery who stood up to talk to him, saying “hey” to the person as they walked out together.

Law enforcement officials did not immediately identify the two women who Weinstein is charged with attacking. Lucia Evans, a onetime aspiring actress who has said Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2004 at his Manhattan office, told the New Yorker on Thursday that she was pressing charges against Weinstein, saying: “At a certain point, you have to think about the greater good of humanity, of womankind.”

Authorities in several cities have also launched criminal investigations into Weinstein, including in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and London.

Federal prosecutors have also started an investigation into the sexual-abuse allegations, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Courtesy of Washington Post

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