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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Weinstein Claims Not Guilty in Rape and Sexual Assault Case

In a courtroom court in Los Angeles, Wednesday (21/7), Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape and seven counts of sexual assault.

Associated Press reported the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy brought the 69-year-old convict rapist to court in a wheelchair. He wore a brown prison suit and a face mask.

Attorney Mark Werksman defended the famous former film director, who was humiliated after being extradited from New York to California, where he is serving a 23-year prison sentence.

Weinstein is now awaiting a second trial in the city and is likely to face a lengthy prison sentence.

The charges against Weinstein include five women spanning 2004-2013. Most said the rapes and sexual assaults took place in hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, where Weinstein used those locations as headquarters for his Hollywood business. Weinstein himself is based in New York.

Some of the incidents occurred during Oscars week when his films became perennial competitors to the #MeToo movement that brought them down.

Weinstein pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape, four counts of forced oral intercourse, two counts of forced intimate touching and one count of forced sexual penetration. If found guilty on these charges he could be sentenced to 140 years.

The women named in the court documents were not named.

A jury in New York found Weinstein guilty of raping an aspiring actress in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013, and performing forced oral sex on a film and TV production assistant at her Manhattan apartment in 2006.

Weinstein is appealing the verdict, seeking a new trial. He insisted on pleading not guilty and judging any sexual activity as consensual.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles first indicted Weinstein in 2020, just as jury selection is underway in the New York case.

More charges were added in late 2020, and in March he was indicted by a Los Angeles County grand jury.

The pandemic and delays in procedures meant Weinstein’s extradition took more than a year. His legal team cited his client’s deteriorating health as a reason to request that Weinstein be held in a state prison near Buffalo, New York, until jury selection begins in the Los Angeles trial.

Some officials said the time Weinstein was held in California would count towards his New York sentence. [em/lt]

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