Weinstein Charged with Rape, Sex Crime in New York

Manila Bulletin, May 26, 2018 | Go to article overview

Weinstein Charged with Rape, Sex Crime in New York


Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was charged with rape and a sex crime in New York on Friday, in what was hailed a landmark for the #MeToo movement, nearly eight months after his career imploded in a blaze of accusations of misconduct.

The former mogul -- once the toast of Hollywood, whose films won scores of Oscars -- smirked as he was escorted into a Manhattan courtroom in handcuffs to face the first criminal charges lodged against him.

Weinstein, a 66-year-old twice-married father of five, was charged with rape in the first and third degrees, stemming from an attack on a woman in 2013, and a criminal sex act against another woman in 2004. Neither victim was named.

"Today's charges reflect significant progress in this active, ongoing investigation," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, thanking "brave survivors" for coming forward and urging others to call a sex crimes hotline.

Standing alongside his defense attorney, the former Tinseltown powerbroker looked glum during the brief arraignment, agreeing to post bail at $1 million cash, surrender his passport and be fitted with a GPS monitoring device.

Weinstein's career went down in flames in October over sexual assault allegations following explosive articles in The New York Times and New Yorker, which sparked a sexual harassment reckoning across the United States, in multiple industries.

Nearly 100 women have now accused Weinstein of crimes ranging from sexual harassment to assault and rape going back decades.

New York authorities have been investigating the disgraced producer for months, under growing pressure from Hollywood actresses to bring him to justice, and their probes are ongoing.

Weinstein already faces a slew of civil lawsuits, is reportedly under federal investigation, and his former studio has filed for bankruptcy.

But these were the first criminal charges against Weinstein.

Defense attorney Ben Brafman told reporters that his client would plead not guilty and still denied any non-consensual sexual activity.

"We intend to move very quickly to dismiss these charges," Brafman said.

"Bad behavior is not on trial," he added. "Mr Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood."

His case was adjourned until July 30.

Handcuffs

The former studio boss surrendered to police shortly before 7:30 am (1130 GMT) wearing a white shirt, pale blue sweater and dark blazer, as dozens of television cameras and photographers mobbed the street outside.

He walked into the station clutching several books, apparently including the Rodgers and Hammerstein biography "Something Wonderful" and a volume on late director Elia Kazan. …

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