Harvey Weinstein to plead not guilty to rape and sex abuse charges

Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein arriving at a New York police station. Picture: Getty
Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein arriving at a New York police station. Picture: Getty
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Harvey Weinstein intends to plead not guilty to charges of rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct.

The disgraced film producer’s lawyer confirmed Weinstein’s intentions in a statement read outside court.

Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman told reporters outside the court in New York: “Mr Weinstein will enter a plea of not guilty.

“We intend 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.”

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

The lawyer said Weinstein had “always maintained that any sexual activity he engaged in was consensual”.

“He has vehemently denied any of the allegations which suggest that he engaged in non-consensual sexual activity,” Mr Brafman said.

“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.”

Weinstein had earlier been charged with rape following an investigation by police in New York.

He was arrested this morning in his first public appearance since October before being charged with rape, a criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women.

Weinstein posted a $US1 million cash bail (£751,060) and agreed to wear an electronic tracking device as he faced an arraignment hearing at the Criminal Court in New York.

He is also surrendering his passport and will not be able to travel outside of the states of New York and Connecticut.

Weinstein was joined in court by his lawyer Benjamin Brafman. The film producer did not enter a plea.

Weinstein has been the subject of an investigation in the US into allegations.

A statement from the New York Police Department confirmed the charges and thanked “these brave survivors for their courage to come forward and seek justice”.

The arrest and charges follow the joint investigation between the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr said in a statement: “Today’s charges reflect significant progress in this active, ongoing investigation.

“I thank the brave survivors who have come forward and my office’s prosecutors who have worked tirelessly on this investigation.

“I would also like to thank Commissioner James O’Neill and our dedicated partners at the NYPD. We urge additional survivors and others with relevant information to call our Sex Crimes Hotline at 212-335-9373.”

In his first public appearance since October, Weinstein arrived at the New York Police Department’s 1st Precinct wearing a black suit, white shirt and blue jumper.

A police official previously said Weinstein would be charged with committing a criminal sex act after an aspiring actress alleged he forced her to perform oral sex in 2004.

The incident relates to a woman who has not been identified or spoken publicly, the official said.

Weinstein, whose lawyers have denied allegations he forced himself on women, said nothing as he entered the police precinct.

He was clutching 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.

He is expected to be taken to Manhattan Criminal Court later today to be formally read the charges, US media reports.

The New York Times reported yesterday that investigators in Manhattan were preparing to arrest the disgraced movie mogul and he was expected to surrender to authorities.