BEVERLY HILLS—Film producer Harvey Weinstein pled not guilty to all 11 rape and sexual assault counts against him regarding five women who accused him of sexual assault in a California hotel. Weinstein entered the plea in a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday, July 21.
Sheriff deputies brought Weinstein into the courtroom in a wheelchair. His attorney Mark Werksman entered the not guilty plea for Weinstein a day after being extradited to California from New York. Werksman asked Judge Sergio Tapia that Weinstein be granted medical evaluation which the judge allowed.
He plead not guilty to four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint, and one count of sexual penetration by use of force. Weinstein is already serving a 23-year sentence in a New York state prison, and if he is convicted of other charges, he could face up to an additional 140 years in prison.
In March 2020, Weinstein was convicted and sentenced to 23 years in New York state prison after a Manhattan jury found him guilty of rape and committing a criminal sexual act. Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey filed multiple counts of sexual assault against the Miramax movie studio co-founder.
In October 2020, prosecutors filed six more charges against Weinstein involving two additional victims. In April 2021, a Los Angeles County grand jury indicted Weinstein on four counts of forcible rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery, and one count of sexual penetration by force.
In the first incident, Weinstein allegedly raped a woman at a hotel in Beverly Hills between September 2004 and September 2005. In the second case, the defendant allegedly raped a woman two times in November 2009 and November 2010 at a hotel in Beverly Hills
All five women testified against Weinstein during the hearings. He has denied all allegations and is appealing his conviction. At least 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual abuse across the U.S. and Europe.
Weinstein’s history with sexual assault was first introduced to the public in October 2017 when The New York Times published a detailed story with years of allegations from women who came forward. Among those were actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd. The article sparked more women coming forward with alleged accounts of sexual harassment and rape, leading to investigations.
Many women had reported that Weinstein would force them to watch him naked and massage him as well as using sexual favors for career advancements. James has been representing the victims’ case in a class action lawsuit filed in 2018 involving Weinstein and The Weinstein company that instilled a “hostile” work environment.
Victims of Weinstein are expected to receive compensation in a settlement of $19 million as announced by New York Attorney General Letitia James on June 30, 2020 in a press release from her office. “The agreement ensures that women who experienced a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and gender-based discrimination while working at The Weinstein Company, as well as sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein, are entitled to obtain restitution, by creating a $18,875,000 victims’ compensation fund,” said James.
Weinstein is known for producing Oscar-nominated films like “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love.” Weinstein is currently awaiting another trail date which is unknown.
Written By Mary Kathryn Grill and Casey Jacobs