Weinstein charged with rape, sex abuse

Film producer Harvey Weinstein has been taken to a New York City courthouse in handcuffs after surrendering himself at a police station to be charged with rape, sex abuse and other crimes involving two women.

The charges come months after he was toppled from Hollywood’s most powerful ranks by scores of women accusing him of misconduct.

More than 70 women have accused the co-founder of the Miramax film studio and Weinstein Co of sexual misconduct with some allegations dating back decades.

The accusations, first reported by the New York Times and the New Yorker last year, gave rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of misconduct.

Weinstein is charged with rape, sexual misconduct, sex abuse and the committing of a criminal sex act against two women, the New York Police Department said on Friday in a statement, which did not identify the women.

Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

The 66-year-old gave a weak smile as he arrived at a Lower Manhattan police station at about 7.25am local time on Friday wearing a dark jacket over a blue sweater and white open-collared shirt and dark jeans.

Police officers escorted Weinstein inside the station as scores of journalists pushed up against barricades for pictures and video, while three helicopters hovered overhead.

Just before 9am Weinstein left the station in handcuffs and escorted by officers to head to a Manhattan court for arraignment.

A judge is expected to release him on bail, according to media reports.

Weinstein’s spokesman Juda Engelmayer and his lawyer Benjamin Brafman both declined to comment to Reuters on Thursday on the charges.

The victim in the rape case has not been identified, the Times reported, but Weinstein will be charged with first-degree and third-degree rape. The other case involves allegations by Lucia Evans, a former aspiring actor who told the New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to give him oral sex in 2004, the Times reported.

Entertainment industry heavyweights have distanced themselves from Weinstein since the accusations became public. The board of the Weinstein Co fired him and the company filed for bankruptcy in March.

In 2017, he was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the Oscars.

A former fixture in the most elite entertainment circles of Manhattan and Los Angeles, Weinstein has spent time in Scottsdale, Arizona, where the New York Times said he sought treatment for sex addiction.

London’s Metropolitan Police have said they are also investigating an allegation of sexual assault against Weinstein, while prosecutors in Los Angeles said in February they were reviewing three accusations of sexual assault against him.

Brafman said in a May court filing that federal prosecutors in New York had opened a separate criminal investigation into the allegations.

Actress Rose McGowan, among the first in Hollywood to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault, said in a statement on Thursday that his alleged victims were now “one step closer to justice.”

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