Harvey Weinstein pled not guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in 2006 during an arraignment in downtown Manhattan on Monday.
It was a familiar scene for the indie movie mogul. He had previously been arraigned in June relating to charges of first- and third-degree rape, and a first-degree criminal sexual act involving two other women. The charges are related to incidents in 2004 and 2013.
A handcuffed Weinstein entered the courthouse wearing a dark suit and multi-colored tie. He looked ashen and as though he had lost some weight. He was flanked by his attorney Benjamin Brafman.
Weinstein, the producer of hit films such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love,” was a force in Hollywood, renowned for his ability to pick art house fare that could cross over into the mainstream, and feared for his volatile temper. He also had deep ties to the Beltway, raising money for President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during their White House runs.
However, Weinstein’s career is in tatters. Dozens of women have come forward in recent months to accuse the producer of assaulting or harassing them. His accusers include prominent actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Ashley Judd. Weinstein’s fall helped lead to an industry-wide reckoning, one that led to charges of assault or misbehavior being leveled against other powerful figures such as Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Matt Lauer, and Brett Ratner.
The new charges stem from accusations that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on a woman in July 2006. It carries a potential life sentence if convicted. He faces a minimum of 10 years in prison if found guilty. Law enforcement has not publicly identified any of the three women accusing Weinstein of assault, but one accuser, former marketing executive Lucia Evans, previously said she was pressing charges.
Weinstein faces a number of potential legal issues. Police in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and London are also investigating allegations that the producer assaulted or sexually abused women.
On Monday, the court room was nearly filled with media. Gloria Allred, an attorney who is representing some of Weinstein’s accusers, was also on hand. Brafman approached Allred shortly before the hearing and shook her hand.
“How are you?” he asked. “Glad you could make it.”
More to come…