Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to eleven new charges of rape and sexual assault at a courtroom in LA.
Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence in New York for other sexual offences. He was extradited to California to face the new charges.
Sky reports that the prosecution has 120 days to bring Weinstein to trial under the extradition agreement.
The charges relate to five different women and include four counts of rape and seven counts of sexual assault. The incidents are alleged to have occurred between 2004 and 2013, predominantly in hotels across Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.
According to a report by The Guardian, Weinstein appeared before the court in a wheelchair and face mask. He allegedly spoke only once to thank the judge, who wished him luck.
The disgraced 69-year-old filmmaker faces a maximum of 140 years in prison, if convicted.
“They’re baseless, they’re from long, long ago, they’re uncorroborated,” said defence lawyer Mark Werksman.
“We are confident that if we have a fair trial he will be acquitted.”
“Allegations of sexual assault and rape do take a long time to report”, responded Gloria Allred, a prosecution lawyer representing some of the alleged victims. “So the idea that they may not have disclosed to a law enforcement officer for many years does not mean that those are not credible.”
In 2017, dozens of women came forward in an article for The New Yorker accusing Weinstein of harassment, rape and other forced or coerced sexual acts. He was arrested in 2018 following a lengthy investigation.
It was the case of Harvey Weinstein which has been largely credited with the rise of the #MeToo movement, which has inspired people across the world to speak out about sexual misconduct and harassment.
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