Harvey Weinstein will enter a plea of “not guilty” to charges of rape and a criminal sex act against two women in 2013 and 2004, his defense lawyer said Friday.
“Mr Weinstein will enter a plea of not guilty,” Ben Brafman told reporters outside the Manhattan court where his disgraced Hollywood mogul client briefly appeared before a judge to post bail.
“We intend to move very quickly to dismiss these charges. We believe that they are constitutionally flawed. We believe that they are not factually supported by the evidence.”
Earlier today, Weinstein surrendered to New York City police on charges of rape and sex abuse, 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, including rape, 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 in a statement, which did not identify the women.
Weinstein, 66, has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
Weinstein gave a weak smile as he arrived at the station house at about 7:25 a.m. EDT (1125 GMT) wearing a dark jacket over a blue sweater and white open-collared shirt and dark jeans.
He carried thick books under his right arm, including what appeared to be biographies of the Broadway musical duo of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and Elia Kazan, the director of such classic Hollywood films as “On the Waterfront” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
Police officers escorted Weinstein inside a lower Manhattan police station as scores of journalists pushed up against barricades for pictures and video, while three helicopters hovered overhead. He is due to appear later in the morning for arraignment at a Manhattan courthouse where a judge is expected to release him on bail, according to media reports.
Weinstein is expected to be charged with raping one woman and forcing another to perform oral sex on him, the Times reported, citing unidentified law enforcement officials.
Weinstein’s spokesman Juda Engelmayer and his lawyer Benjamin Brafman both declined to comment to Reuters on Thursday on the imminent charges.
The charges follow a months-long investigation that involved the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
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 actress who told the New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to give him oral sex in 2004, the Times reported.