Movie producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty in state court in Manhattan on Monday to the most serious sex crime charges he is currently facing.
Last week, a grand jury indicted Mr. Weinstein who already was indicted in May, 2018 on charges of rape and criminal sexual act on two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of criminal sex act. Predatory sexual assault, a felony which includes committing sex crimes against multiple people, carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and maximum of life in prison. The Wall Street Journal reported.
Harvey Weinstein, 66 years old, is out of jail on $1 million bail and is wearing an electronic monitoring device. On Monday, prosecutors asked that Mr. Weinstein’s bail conditions be changed, because of the additional more serious charges, and that he be held under house arrest in Manhattan.
“Obviously the defendant does stand a substantial chance of going to jail for a very long time,” said Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi.
Benjamin Brafman, who represents Mr. Weinstein, said his client is living in Connecticut near his doctors, who are treating him. Furthermore, Mr. Brafman said, Mr. Weinstein is protected from the media attention that would surely follow him in Manhattan.
“We would have a circus atmosphere outside his apartment,” Mr. Brafman told the judge.
Justice James Burke ruled that Mr. Weinstein’s bail conditions would remain the same. During the hearing, Mr. Weinstein sat at the defense table, frequently shaking his head from side to side.
For the criminal sex act charge, the indictment from last week describes an incident that allegedly occurred on July 10, 2006, in Manhattan. During that incident, Mr. Weinstein forced a woman to have oral sex with him, the indictment says.
The predatory-sexual assault charges will require prosecutors to prove allegations from at least two women, which according to the indictment occurred in 2006 and 2013.
Last month, movie producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to rape and criminal-sexual act charges related to the 2013 incident as well as a separate incident that allegedly took place in 2004.
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer, Mr. Brafman, has vigorously denied all of the allegations and said the interactions were consensual.
During a news conference outside the courthouse on Monday, Mr. Brafman said he has evidence from witnesses and emails that prove Mr. Weinstein is innocent. He also said Mr. Weinstein was continuing to work, including by reviewing scripts and trying to pursue new projects.
Also, outside of the courthouse, lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents the newest accuser, said her client, whom she declined to name, would testify at a trial.
Dozens of women have accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual misconduct and assault, leading to the downfall of his career and company. The criminal charges brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office in May were the first such charges that Harvey Weinstein faced.
The addition of the predatory sexual-assault charge both raises the stakes of the case, because it carries a mandatory sentence, and may be a strategic move by the district attorney’s office, said Matthew Galluzzo, a former Manhattan sex-crimes prosecutor who isn’t involved in the case. Without that charge, Mr. Weinstein’s attorneys might have moved to try the separate allegations in front of two different juries, Mr. Galluzzo said. But because the new charge requires proving allegations by multiple women, the judge likely wouldn’t allow the case to be split.
“For a defense attorney, that’s more than twice as hard to defend against,” said Mr. Galluzzo in an interview. “It’s harder to fight two people at once than to fight one guy twice. You’re getting double teamed.”
Manhattan prosecutors have said their investigation is continuing. Movie producer Harvey Weinstein is due back in court on September 20, 2018.