Harvey Weinstein

Steven Hirsch/New York Post via AP, Pool)

Harvey Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty To Rape, Other Charges

June 05, 2018 - 10:05 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) -- Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to rape and criminal sex act charges at his arraignment Tuesday morning.

The disgraced film mogul arrived at Manhattan Supreme Court at 10 a.m. after a grand jury indicted him last week on charges involving two women. Metal barricades were set up outside the courthouse to create a path for Weinstein and his attorney Ben Brafman.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Weinstein appeared disheveled as he arrived in court. He walked with a slight limp before sitting down at the defense table and entering a plea of not guilty to the two counts in the indictment.

Brafman addressed reporters after the hearing, saying he and his client would fight the charges against Weinstein and indicating that he hoped to get the charges dropped before trial.

“We are going to file a series of legal motions that will get us more information and may impact the process, and if we are successful, there may not be a trial, and if there is a trial, we will proceed expeditiously and vigorously to try and clear Mr. Weinstein’s name,” Brafman said. “To date, these two charges are in my opinion eminently defensible based on what we’ve learned.”

Brafman said Weinstein is holding up reasonably well.

Of the charges against Weinstein, Brafman said, “As terrible a crime as rape is, it is equally reprehensible to be falsely accused”.

This was the second public appearance for the 66-year-old movie mogul who surrendered to the NYPD on May 25 and was brought to the court in handcuffs to hear the charges.

Weinstein has since been free on $1 million bail.

The charges stem from two separate encounters, one that occurred back in 2004 and another in 2013.

One alleged victim, who has not been identified publicly, told investigators that Weinstein cornered her in a hotel room and raped her. The other accuser, former actress Lucia Evans, has gone public with her account of Weinstein forcing her to perform oral sex at his office in 2004. 

Dozens more women have accused him of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to assault.

Weinstein has previously denied all of the allegations saying the sex was consensual.

Brafman has challenged the credibility of his alleged victims and says his client is confident he is going to clear his name.

Brafman called the rape allegation "absurd," saying that the accuser and Weinstein had a decadelong, consensual sexual relationship that continued after the alleged 2013 attack.

During the proceedings Tuesday, Brafman accused law enforcement sources of leaks to the tabloids. Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi shot back that Brafman using the term “casting couch” in an interview undermines the seriousness of the charges.

Brafman promised he will not use the term again.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has said it was predictable that Weinstein's camp would attack the integrity of the women and of the legal system.

Vance, a Democrat, came under public pressure from women's groups to prosecute Weinstein after declining to do so in 2015, when an Italian model went to police to say Weinstein had groped her during a meeting.

Meanwhile, a firm that Weinstein hired to investigate one of his accusers reportedly has a contract for work with the Manhattan DA.

The Daily News says the office of Cy Vance signed a contract with the company K2 in 2015, months after Weinstein's lawyers signed a deal with the firm for information on actress Ambra Guieterrez.

It's not clear if Vance's office was aware of the firm's work for Weinstein, and a spokesman for the DA says the Vance's office is only using K2's  software and tech support in cybercrime and public corruption cases.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)