Fri. 1 p.m.: Weinstein faces sex charges in prosecution amid #MeToo
NEW YORK (AP) — Flinching when he heard himself described as a man who used power to prey on women, Harvey Weinstein was charged today with rape and another sex felony in the first prosecution to result from the wave of allegations against him that sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct.
Seven months after the accusations destroyed his career and catalyzed the #MeToo movement, the once-powerhouse movie producer turned himself in to face the charges. They stem from encounters with two of the dozens of women who have accused him of sexual misdeeds ranging from harassment to assault.
“This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” Manhattan Assistant Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said in court. Weinstein, who had been staring grimly ahead, grimaced and raised his eyebrows as he heard her words.
Weinstein, 66, has consistently denied any allegations of nonconsensual sex. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said Friday that he would fight to get the charges dismissed, saying they’re factually unsupported and constitutionally flawed.
And he began to take aim at the accusations and accusers, noting that the alleged attacks weren’t reported to police when they happened and suggesting potential jurors wouldn’t believe the women.
“Assuming,” he added, “we get 12 fair people who are not consumed by the movement that seems to have overtaken this case.”
Asked about the raft of allegations that made Weinstein a symbol of sexual misconduct, Brafman said: “Bad behavior is not on trial in this case.”
“Mr. Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood, and to the extent that there is bad behavior in that industry, that is not what this is about,” the attorney said.
Weinstein was released on $1 million bail, with constant electronic monitoring and a ban on traveling beyond New York and Connecticut. He left through a courthouse back door less than three hours after his arrest.