Harvey Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty To LA Sexual Assaults Charges
Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and sexual assault in a Los Angeles County courtroom Wednesday.
Weinstein, 69, was arraigned in a Los Angeles court on Wednesday on four counts of rape and seven other sexual assault counts related to alleged assaults dating back to 2004.
He appeared in court in a wheelchair after being extradited from New York, where he is serving a 23-year jail sentence for similar crimes.
According to an indictment filed by the Los Angeles County district attorney and unsealed Wednesday, the alleged incidents took place between 2004 and 2013.
Weinstein’s lawyer Mark Werksman entered the not guilty plea on his behalf to four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force, charges that together could bring a sentence of 140 years.
Weinstein, who was dressed in brown prison overalls and a blue face mask, spoke only once throughout the hearing when he said ‘thank you very much’ to Judge Sergio Tapia after he had wished him ‘good luck’ as the hearing ended.
Werksman told the judge that he was filing documents requesting the dismissal of three of the counts, saying they were beyond the statute of limitations.
“They’re baseless, they’re from long, long ago, they’re uncorroborated,” Werksman said of the charges after the hearing. “We are confident that if we have a fair trial he will be acquitted.”
Weinstein maintains his innocence and insists that any sexual activity was consensual.
Weinstein’s ordeal began in October 2017, after The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that more than a dozen women accused Weinstein of sexually harassing, assaulting, or raping them.
As a result of these accusations, Weinstein was fired from his production company, suspended from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also resigned from the Directors Guild of America and was denounced by leading figures in politics whom he had supported.
The Los Angeles Police Department opened a criminal investigation for alleged rape, and New York and London police began investigating other sexual assault allegations.