Harvey Weinstein faces fresh criminal charges, including predatory sexual assault

The Manhattan district attorney in New York City on Monday announced new criminal charges against film producer Harvey Weinstein, who had been charged with rape and a criminal sexual act in May.

The new charges include predatory sexual assault — which carries a minimum 10-year sentence — and involve a third woman in addition to the two mentioned in the earlier charges. The indictment accuses Weinstein of forcibly performing 
oral sex on a woman in July 2006.

Weinstein is scheduled for arraignment on the new charges July 9. A lawyer for Weinstein said the 66-year-old former movie mogul will plead not guilty.

“Mr. Weinstein maintains that all of these allegations are false and he expects to be fully vindicated,” lawyer Ben Brafman said.

Weinstein, once one of Hollywood’s most powerful filmmakers, pleaded not guilty to the first set of charges. He has denied ever having non-consensual sex and none of the allegations has been tested in court.

“This indictment is the result of the extraordinary courage exhibited by the survivors who have come forward,” district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement. “Our investigation continues.”

Prosecutors haven’t named women

More than 70 women have accused the Miramax film studio’s co-founder of sexual misconduct, including rape, in a series of incidents dating back decades. The accusations gave rise to the #MeToo movement, which has seen hundreds of women publicly accusing powerful men in business, government and entertainment of sexual harassment and abuse.

Weinstein has been free on bail of $1 million after surrendering in May to face the first set of charges, which came after a months-long investigation by the New York Police Department.

Prosecutors have not named, in court papers, any of the women accusing Weinstein of sexual assault.

Weinstein, centre, leaves with his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, right, after posting bail May in Manhattan’s Criminal Court. (Bebeto Matthews/The Associated Press)

If convicted on the most serious charges, Weinstein could face between 10 years and life in prison.

The Weinstein Co’s board fired him, the company filed for bankruptcy in March, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him.

In years past, the academy had showered him with Oscars for a string of films that helped define independent cinema in the 1990s. The Weinstein Co and Miramax put out acclaimed films such as:

  • Shakespeare in Love.
  • Pulp Fiction.
  • Sex, Lies and Videotape.
  • The Crying Game.
  • The King’s Speech.

London’s Metropolitan Police and Los Angeles prosecutors have said they are reviewing accusations of sexual assault against Weinstein.

SOURCE: CBC.ca

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