Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to LA sexual assault charges

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence in New York

Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault charges in a Los Angeles court.

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.

The 69-year-old faces 11 counts of sexual assault in California relating to alleged incidents with five women.

He maintains his innocence and has said any sexual activity was consensual.

The incidents are said to have occurred in hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles between 2004 and 2013.

The charges include forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint, and sexual penetration by use of force.

If convicted, Weinstein could face a maximum sentence of 140 years.

Wearing brown prison overalls and a face mask, Weinstein only spoke only to say “thank you” to Judge Sergio Tapia after she wished him “good luck”.

His lawyer said the charges were not credible.

“They are baseless, they are from long, long ago, they are uncorroborated,” Mark Werksman said after the hearing.

Weinstein is appealing against last year’s conviction in New York.

More than 80 women have accused him of sexual misconduct, and some of the accusations date back several decades.

Allegations reported in 2017 contributed to the rise of the #MeToo movement, which encouraged people to share experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

However, very few of the allegations have led to criminal charges.

The pandemic and procedural delays meant Weinstein’s extradition to California took well over a year.

During the hearing, Mr Werksman requested the former movie mogul have a health examination.

“He’s going blind in one eye,” he told reporters.

Weinstein has produced several hit movies including Shakespeare in Love, which won the Oscar for best picture in 1999.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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