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Friday 20 September 2019

Grinning Harvey Weinstein on one million dollar bail after rape charge

It is the first time the producer has faced criminal charges.

Harvey Weinstein (Steven Hirsch/New York Post via AP, Pool)
Harvey Weinstein (Steven Hirsch/New York Post via AP, Pool)

By Joe Nerssessian, Press Association

Harvey Weinstein will face trial after being charged with rape.

The disgraced film producer, making his first public appearance since October, spoke only to confirm he understood the charges which involve two separate women.

It is the first time Weinstein has faced criminal charges since an avalanche of accusations – including from some of Hollywood’s biggest stars – first emerged last year, sparking the international MeToo and Time’s Up movements.

Earlier on Friday morning Weinstein had turned himself over to police in New York to face the charges.

Wearing a black suit, white shirt and blue jumper and appearing to stumble slightly, he clutched two books, Something Wonderful: Rodgers And Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution, by Todd S Purdum, and Richard Schickel’s biography of producer, director and writer Elia Kazan.

90 minutes later he left the NYPD’s 1st Precinct handcuffed and smiling as he was escorted to court.

He was charged with two counts of rape – one in the first degree and another in the third degree – and one count of a criminal sexual act for alleged incidents involving two separate women.

Sexual Miscconduct Weinstein

Weinstein has repeatedly denied any allegations of non-consensual sex and intends to plead not guilty, his lawyer Benjamin Brafman said outside court.

Inside, the former Hollywood mogul raised his eyebrows as Manhattan Assistant Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said: “This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually.”

He posted a one million dollar (£751,060) cash bail and will wear an electronic monitor which tracks his movements 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The 66-year-old also surrendered his passport and agreed to stay within the states of New York and Connecticut.

Sexual Misconduct Weinstein

Speaking after the hearing, Brafman took a swipe at the MeToo and Time’s Up movements as he pledged to “move very quickly to dismiss these charges”.

“We believe that they are constitutionally flawed, we believe that they are not factually supported by the evidence and we believe that by the end of the process, Mr Weinstein will be exonerated.”

He said that Weinstein is doing “as well as can be expected when you are accused of a crime that you vehemently deny having committed”.

“Many of these allegations are long overdue, quite frankly, having been made about events that are alleged to have occurred many years ago.

“They were not reported to the police at the time these events occurred and I anticipate that the women who have made these allegations, when subjected to cross examination – in the event we even get that far – that the charges will not be believed by 12 people, assuming we get 12 fair people who are not consumed by the movement that seems to have overtaken this case.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr praised the “brave survivors who have come forward” as he urged people with relevant information to come forward.

Weinstein is also facing criminal investigations in Los Angeles and London.

An Oscar-winning producer, he and his brother Bob Weinstein founded production company Miramax in 1979, building it into a major Hollywood player before selling it to Disney in 1993.

They continued to work for the firm until 2005 when they quit to set up the Weinstein Company, which spawned hits including The King’s Speech, Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook.

Since last year’s scandal broke his wife, British designer Georgina Chapman, has left him and numerous bodies, including the Oscars Academy, have moved to distance themselves.

Read more: Alyssa Milano on Harvey Weinstein: We look forward to seeing justice prevail

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