Harvey Weinstein faces three new sexual misconduct charges

New York district attorney announces new charges including predatory sexual assault

The disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was charged with additional crimes on Monday in New York, related to alleged sexual misconduct.

Weinstein, 66, was arrested in New York and first appeared in court in May in connection with accusations of rape from two women. At a further court appearance in June, Weinstein pleaded not guilty.

On Monday, the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr, charged the former head of the Weinstein Company film empire with an additional count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, for an alleged forcible sexual act against a third woman in 2006, as well as two counts of predatory sexual assault.

Predatory sexual assault carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

A statement from Vance’s office said the new charges were on top of those contained in the previous indictment of charges of rape in the first and third degrees, as well as criminal sexual act in the first degree, for alleged forcible sexual acts against two women in 2013 and 2004.

“A Manhattan grand jury has now indicted Harvey Weinstein on some of the most serious sexual offenses that exist under New York’s penal law,” said Vance. “This indictment is the result of the extraordinary courage exhibited by the survivors who have come forward. Our investigation continues.”

In a statement, Weinstein’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said: “Mr Weinstein will enter a plea of not guilty to the new charges. Mr Weinstein maintains that all of these allegations are false and he expects to be fully vindicated.”

Weinstein has been free on $1m bail since the June hearing. He had been scheduled to appear in court again on 20 September. He will now be arraigned in court next Monday, 9 July.

In June, Weinstein was fitted with an electronic monitoring device. At the last hearing he surrendered his passport and agreed not to travel beyond New York and Connecticut. A prosecutor told the judge the investigation was ongoing, and that authorities had encouraged other alleged survivors to come forward.

“The defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” she said.

In addition to Weinstein’s plea of not guilty, Brafman spoke outside court. He called the charges “constitutionally flawed” and “not factually supported”.

The charges about his alleged behaviour erupted last October. Weinstein was publicly accused of rape, sexual assault and years of harassment and intimidation by a large group of women.

Some of the world’s most famous film stars and actors alleged he damaged their careers after they spurned his advances. Workers at his companies said they had been repeatedly harassed.

The allegations coincided with and fuelled #MeToo activism and the Time’s Up grassroots movement which aim to expose and confront such abuse of power across a wide variety of industries. The first reports about Weinstein earned the Pulitzer prize for the New York Times and the New Yorker.

Weinstein has been the subject of simultaneous police investigations in New York, London and Los Angeles, with the various authorities having pledged to share information. He has so far only been charged in New York.

If Weinstein’s is the signature case of the #MeToo era, the comedian Bill Cosby’s conviction in April for sexual assault was the first banner verdict in court.

Experts are weighing whether alleged Weinstein victims other than those who have generated charges could be called as witnesses in any trial.

Cosby was convicted of sexual assault in April. Many more of his victims testified at his retrial than at his first trial in 2017, which ended in a mistrial. Cosby is due to be sentenced on 24 September.


Joanna Walters in New York

The GuardianTramp

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