Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to rape and criminal sex act charges in New York. The hearing in Manhattan comes after a grand jury indicted the former movie mogul last week on charges involving two women.
One alleged victim, who has not been identified publicly, told investigators that Weinstein cornered her in a hotel room and raped her. The other accuser, former actress Lucia Evans, has gone public with her account of Weinstein forcing her to perform oral sex at his office in 2004. The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults unless they come forward publicly.
Dozens more women have accused him of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to assault.
The 66-year-old Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, has challenged the credibility of his alleged victims and says his client is confident he is going to clear his name.
Brafman called the rape allegation “absurd,” saying that the accuser and Weinstein had a decadelong, consensual sexual relationship that continued after the alleged 2013 attack.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has said it was predictable that Weinstein’s camp would attack the integrity of the women and of the legal system.
Vance, a Democrat, came under public pressure from women’s groups to prosecute Weinstein after declining to do so in 2015, when an Italian model went to police to say Weinstein had groped her during a meeting.
Police set up a sting in which the woman recorded herself confronting Weinstein and him apologizing for his conduct. But Vance decided there was not enough evidence to bring charges. Weinstein is out on 1 million dollar bail.