Harvey Weinstein faces sex-related charges, released on $US1M bail
NEW YORK (AP) — Flinching when he heard himself described as a man who used power to prey on women, Harvey Weinstein was arraigned Friday on charges of rape and a criminal sex act in the first criminal prosecution to result from the wave of allegations against him that sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct.
Seven months after the allegations destroyed his career and catalysed the #MeToo movement, the once-powerhouse movie producer turned himself in to face the charges, which stem from encounters with two of the dozens who have accused him of sexual misdeeds ranging from harassment to assault.
“This defendant used his position, money, and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” Manhattan Assistant Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said in court.
Weinstein, who had been staring grimly ahead, grimaced and raised his eyebrows as he heard her words.
He has consistently denied any allegations of nonconsensual sex.
His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said Friday that he would fight to get the charges dismissed, saying they’re factually unsupported and constitutionally flawed.
And he began to take aim at the accusations and accusers, noting that the alleged attacks weren’t reported to police when they happened and suggesting potential jurors wouldn’t believe the women.
“Assuming,” he added, “we get 12 fair people who are not consumed by the movement that seems to have overtaken this case.”
Weinstein was released on $1 million bail, with constant electronic monitoring and a ban on travelling beyond New York and Connecticut.
He left through a courthouse back door.
He has until Wednesday to decide whether to testify before a grand jury.