Film producer Harvey Weinstein surrendered to New York City police on Friday on charges of rape and sex abuse, months after he was toppled from Hollywood’s most powerful ranks by scores of women accusing him of misconduct.
Wearing a black suit, white shirt and blue jumper, the disgraced producer left the precinct handcuffed, however, to everyone's utter shock, Weinstein was smiling as he was escorted to the court.
The disgraced producer who has faced an avalanche of accusations including from some of Hollywood’s biggest stars – has repeatedly denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.
"This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually," Manhattan Assistant Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said later, in words that brought raised eyebrows from the otherwise stony-faced Weinstein. The Hollywood mogul will be pleading not guilty, his lawyer Benjamin Brafman informed outside court.
Weinstein was charged with two counts of rape – one in the first degree and another in the third degree – and one count of a criminal sexual act for alleged incidents involving two separate women. The victim in the rape case has not been identified however, the other case involves allegations by Lucia Evans, a former aspiring actress who told the New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to give him oral sex in 2004, the Times reported.
Since then, more than 70 women have accused him of sexual misconduct, including rape, with some of the accusations going back decades. The accusations gave rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government, and entertainment of misconduct.
New York police said in its statement: "The NYPD thanks these brave survivors for their courage to come forward and seek justice."
Weinstein now has posted a one million dollar (£751,060) cash bail and will wear an electronic monitor which tracks his movements 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Speaking after the hearing, Brafman took a swipe at the MeToo and Time’s Up movements as he pledged to “move very quickly to dismiss these charges”.
“We believe that they are constitutionally flawed, we believe that they are not factually supported by the evidence and we believe that by the end of the process, Mr Weinstein will be exonerated.”
The case has been adjourned until 30 July.