Manhattan prosecutor brings new charges against Harvey Weinstein

by Reuters
Monday, 2 July 2018 16:15 GMT

Film producer Harvey Weinstein leaves court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Image Caption and Rights Information
"This indictment is the result of the extraordinary courage exhibited by the survivors who have come forward"

(Adds background on charges, other investigations of Weinstein)

By Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK, July 2 (Reuters) - The Manhattan district attorney on Monday announced new criminal charges against film producer Harvey Weinstein, who had been charged with rape and a criminal sexual act in May.

The new charges include predatory sexual assault and involve a third woman in addition to the two mentioned in the earlier charges. Weinstein, 66, once one of Hollywood's most powerful filmmakers, has pleaded not guilty to the first set of charges.

Benjamin Brafman, Weinstein's lawyer, could not be reached immediately for comment. Weinstein has denied ever having non-consensual sex.

"This indictment is the result of the extraordinary courage exhibited by the survivors who have come forward," District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement. "Our investigation continues."

More than 70 women - mostly young actresses and women in other aspects of the movie business - have accused the Miramax film studio's co-founder of sexual misconduct, including rape, in a series of incidents dating back decades. The accusations gave rise to the #MeToo movement, which has seen hundreds of women publicly accusing powerful men in business, government and entertainment of sexual harassment and abuse.

Weinstein has been free on a $1 million bail after surrendering in May to face the first set of charges, which came after a monthslong investigation by the New York Police Department.

Prosecutors have not named any of the women accusing Weinstein of sexual assault in court papers.

The details of one of the cases in the earlier charges align with the account of Lucia Evans, a former aspiring actress who told the New Yorker in October 2017 that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004.

If convicted on the most serious charges, Weinstein could face between 10 years and life in prison.

The Weinstein Co's board fired him, the company filed for bankruptcy in March, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him.

In years past, the academy had showered him with Oscars for a string of films that helped define independent cinema in the 1990s. The Weinstein Co and Miramax put out acclaimed films such as "Shakespeare in Love," "Pulp Fiction," "Sex, Lies and Videotape," "The Crying Game" and "The King's Speech."

London's Metropolitan Police and Los Angeles prosecutors have said they are reviewing accusations of sexual assault against Weinstein. (Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York Editing by Bill Trott)

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