Harvey Weinstein is released on US$1m bail after appearing in court in handcuffs on sexual assault charges
Weinstein is with facing three felony charges – first-degree rape, third-degree rape, and one out of a criminal sexual act in the first degree. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein appeared in handcuffs in a New York court on Friday to face charges of rape and other sex crimes against two of the scores of women who have accused him of misconduct, ending his reign as a Hollywood kingpin.
Weinstein, the 66-year-old co-founder of the Miramax film studio and the Weinstein Co, intends to plead not guilty to the charges, his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told reporters outside the Manhattan courthouse.
“This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said at Weinstein’s arraignment on Friday in Manhattan Criminal Court, where Weinstein was charged with first-degree and third-degree rape, and one first-degree count of a criminal sexual act.
Weinstein, wearing a dark jacket over a blue sweater and white open-collared shirt and dark jeans, appeared pale, and stood next to Brafman, staring into the middle distance with his mouth ajar while prosecutors described a bail agreement.
Judge Kevin McGrath ordered Weinstein released on US$1 million cash bail and the case was adjourned to July 30. Weinstein surrendered his US passport and agreed to wear a monitoring device that tracks his location, confining him to the states of New York and Connecticut.
Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women, with some of the allegations dating back decades. He has denied ever having nonconsensual sex.
The accusations, first reported last year by The New York Times and The New Yorker, gave rise to the #MeToo movement, in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of sexual misconduct.
The charges are the result of a months-long investigation by the New York Police Department. Prosecutors did not identify the two alleged victims, but said the crimes took place in 2004 and 2013.
Weinstein was seen earlier in the day after surrendering to New York City police, grinning as he was led, handcuffed, by police into the station.
Film producer Harvey Weinstein surrendered to New York City police on Friday on charges of rape and sex abuse and was taken to court in handcuffs, months after he was toppled from Hollywood’s highest ranks by scores of women accusing him of misconduct.
He gave a weak smile as police escorted him inside the lower Manhattan police station at about 7.25am.
He carried thick books under his right arm, including what appeared to be biographies of the Broadway musical duo of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and Elia Kazan, the director of such classic Hollywood films as On the Waterfront and A Streetcar Named Desire.
About 90 minutes later, Weinstein left the police station in handcuffs, flanked by two officers.
He was then taken to a Manhattan court for his arraignment. The court set bail at US$1 million cash and Weinstein was ordered to be fitted with a monitoring device.
Under the previously agreed bail package, his travel will be restricted to New York and neighbouring Connecticut and he has agreed to surrender his passport. The case has been adjourned until July 30.
Police have previously confirmed an active Weinstein investigation regarding one alleged victim, Lucia Evans.
Police in Manhattan have also confirmed they had a credible rape allegation against Weinstein after Boardwalk Empire actress Paz de la Huerta accused him of raping her twice at her New York flat in late 2010.
The mogul’s career went down in flames last October over sexual abuse allegations following bombshell articles in The New York Times and New Yorker magazine, which sparked a sexual harassment watershed across the United States.
More than 70 women have accused Weinstein of misconduct going back 40 years and ranging from sexual harassment to assault and rape.
Actresses including Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have said they were sexually harassed by the producer. A few, including Asia Argento and Rose McGowan, have said they were raped.
“Today we are one step closer to justice,” McGowan said, according to Variety.
“We were young women who were assaulted by Weinstein and later terrorised by his vast network of complicity. I stand with my fellow survivors. May this give hope to all victims and survivors everywhere that are telling their truths.”
Now a marketing consultant, Evans told The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow that Weinstein approached her in a New York club in 2004 and that an assistant subsequently set up a daytime meeting at the Miramax office in Tribeca.
“He forced me to perform oral sex on him,” she said. “I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t,’” she added. “I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him.”
Eventually, she said, the burly executive “overpowered” her. “I just sort of gave up. That’s the most horrible part of it, and that’s why he’s been able to do this for so long to so many women: people give up, and then they feel like it’s their fault.”
She recalled that Weinstein appeared to find the encounter ordinary.
“It was like it was just another day for him,” Evans said. “It was no emotion.”
Weinstein has been investigated by British and US police, but has not yet been charged with any crime. He denies having non-consensual sex and has reportedly been in treatment for sex addiction.
He is also reportedly under federal investigation by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan.
Otherwise, he has been hit by a litany of civil lawsuits and The Weinstein Company – which sacked him – has since filed for bankruptcy.
His wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, left him soon after the allegations surfaced, with police criminal investigations ongoing in London, Los Angeles and New York.