Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to latest sex assault charges
The former powerhouse film producer remains free on bail; he pleaded not guilty in June to charges he assaulted two other women
Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of sexually assaulting a woman in 2006, the third criminal sex assault case brought against him, and his lawyer said he expects further charges to follow.
Dressed in a dark suit and tie on Monday, the 66-year-old co-founder of the Miramax film studio was brought handcuffed into a New York courtroom to face the latest charges.
New York state Supreme Court Justice James Burke rejected prosecutors’ request to order house arrest for Weinstein, allowing him to remain free on US$1 million bail. Weinstein pleaded not guilty in June to charges he assaulted two other women, one in 2004 and one in 2013.
Weinstein was subdued throughout the hearing, pleading “not guilty” and responding “yes, sir” when the judge told him to stay away from his accusers.
“Mr. Weinstein is not a predator, he is not a rapist and I believe when this case is over we will ultimately see him to be exonerated,” defence lawyer Benjamin Brafman told journalists after Monday’s hearing.
Brafman said prosecutors may file additional charges against Weinstein.
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said the number of Weinstein accusers “shows the breadth of the criminality here”.
Prosecutors contend Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on the woman in 2006. The latest charges carry a maximum life sentence.
Earlier charges included two counts of rape and one count of criminal sexual act.
More than 70 women, mostly young actresses and other women in the film industry, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including rape, in a series of alleged attacks dating back decades.
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The accusations against Weinstein sparked the #MeToo movement that has seen hundreds of women publicly accuse powerful men in business, politics and entertainment of sexual harassment and abuse, lifting a shroud that had long shielded such behaviour.
After Weinstein was accused, his eponymous company Weinstein Co fired him and filed for bankruptcy, and he was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.