Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to sexually assaulting a third woman

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Moya Crockett
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The new charges against Weinstein, whose alleged abuse of women was the catalyst for the #MeToo movement, carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. 

Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to three new sexual assault charges. The former film producer appeared in court in New York on Monday (9 July) to deny the charges on which he was indicted in early July.

This most recent plea relates to an alleged sexual assault that took place in 2006. On 2 July, a grand jury charged Weinstein with three offences connected to that assault: one count of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and two counts of predatory sexual assault.

In a statement, the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr said the predatory sexual assault charges carry “a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment”.

Vance said that Weinstein had now been indicted “on some of the most serious sexual offences that exist under New York’s penal law”, and praised “the extraordinary courage exhibited by the survivors who have come forward”.

Weinstein is now facing trial for sex crimes against three different women. In late May, he handed himself into police in Manhattan to be charged with first- and third-degree rape against one woman and committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree against another. 

Harvey Weinstein with his lawyer in court on 9 July 

The women in the rape case and the new 2006 sexual assault case have both chosen to remain anonymous. The first charge of a criminal sexual act in the first degree relates to an alleged assault against Lucia Evans, a former actress who says Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004.

Weinstein is currently free on $1m bail, and Variety reports that prosecutors spent most of his most recent hearing pushing for him to be placed under house arrest in New York City.

However, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke refused to change Weinstein’s bail conditions. The former producer has been required to give up his passport and agreed not to travel beyond New York and Connecticut, and also has to wear a monitoring device.

Manhattan’s district attorney said that other allegations against Weinstein are still being investigated, and urged other survivors to contact his office: “If you are a survivor of the predatory abuse with which Mr Weinstein is charged, there is still time to pursue justice.”

Attorney Gloria Allred, whose daughter Lisa Bloom initially represented Harvey Weinstein, carrying a #MeToo banner at LA Pride, June 2018 

Benjamin Brafman, Weinstein’s lawyer, has criticised Vance’s characterisation of Weinstein as a predator. Weinstein previously pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him in May.

“Mr Weinstein maintains that all of these allegations are false and he expects to be fully vindicated,” Brafman said in a statement to NPR. “Furthermore to charge Mr Weinstein as a predator when the interactions were consensual is simply not justified.”

On 9 July, Brafman said Weinstein was trying to clear his name so he could “hopefully go back to making movies”.

Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault, rape and harassment by more than 80 women, but until recently, it was unclear whether he would ever face criminal charges. Many of the women who have accused him of sexual assault or rape are referring to alleged incidents that took place decades ago, meaning they are outside the statute of limitations in many US states.

However, the disgraced producer is still being investigated by police in London, where there is no statute of limitations on historic sexual abuse allegations.

We’ll bring you updates as we get them.

Images: Getty Images