Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to new sex assault charges

Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein

"Not guilty", Weinstein replied when asked how he pleaded to the new charges: a criminal sexual act for allegedly forcing a woman into oral sex on July 10, 2006 and two counts of predatory sexual assault. He then encouraged other survivors to speak out. After the prosecutor argued for a change in Weinstein's bail conditions, the judge ruled to keep them the same.

Weinstein was one of the most powerful figures in the film industry until a year ago, when The New Yorker and The New York Times published accounts from several women accusing him of various forms of sexual assault and misconduct.

Weinstein previously forfeited his passport and is fitted with an electronic monitoring bracelet.

The Oscar-winning producer, whose namesake company is also due to conclude its bankruptcy sale this week, is next scheduled to appear in court on September 12.

The accusations gave rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of sexual harassment and abuse, lifting a shroud that had long shielded such behavior.

"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", Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement.

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

The 66-year-old has denied all charges of non-consensual sex.

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"We have corroborative evidence in the form of witnesses, we have corroborative evidence, overwhelming evidence, in the form of email traffic".

"Mr Weinstein is not a predator".

"The more I investigate the case, the more I realize that the charges that are now in the indictment are very defensible indeed", Brafman said.

"Proof beyond a reasonable doubt should be the only way someone gets convicted", he added.

Brafman said Weinstein was "still trying to make a living" and seeing doctors, but declined to detail his medical issues, saying only that he was "doing as well as someone can be expected".

Film actress Rose McGowan, who alleged Weinstein raped her in 1997 in Utah.

Former actress Lucia Evans told The New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex and is thought to be one of the women. They include film actress Rose McGowan, who said Mr Weinstein raped her in 1997 in Utah; Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, who said he raped her in her NY apartment in 1992; and the Norwegian actress Natassia Malthe, who said he attacked her in a London hotel room in 2008. Dozens of women have come forward in recent months to accuse the producer of assaulting or harassing them.

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