Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein charged with rape in New York City

After years of swirling rumors and months of investigations, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was formally arraigned on charges of rape in a New York City courtroom on Friday.

Weinstein, the former powerful film industry executive who is alleged to have raped, assaulted or harassed 80 women, was charged with one count of first-degree rape, one count of third-degree rape and a third count of first-degree criminal sex acts against two women.

The charges stem from allegations brought by two women, actress Lucia Evans, who claimed Weinstein forced her to perform a sex act in 2004, and a second unidentified woman, who claims Weinstein raped her in 2013.

The 66-year-old former Hollywood producer who co-founded Miramax Films surrendered to New York police early Friday and appeared in court in mid-morning.

“This defendant used his position money and power into lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” Manhattan Assistant Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told the court.

Prior to leaving court, Weinstein posted $1 million bail, surrendered his passport and agreed to electronic monitoring.

Under the terms of his release, Weinstein is prohibited from traveling outside the states New York or Connecticut.

After Weinstein was led from the courtroom, his defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman, offered a tepid defense of his client:

“My job is not to defend behavior. My job is to defend something that is criminal behavior. Mr. Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood. To the extent that there’s bad behavior in that industry, that is not what this is about. Bad behavior is not on trial in this case.”

Charges which inspired the #MeToo hashtag, one alleged victim of Weinstein, and a fierce critic of the former Hollywood kingpin, Rose McGowan, tweeted her satisfaction with Weinstein’s court appearance.

Other criminal investigations against Weinstein are ongoing in Los Angeles and London.  If convicted in New York alone, Weinstein could face up to 25 years behind bars.

 

[AP] [Daily Mail] [Image courtesy Jane Rosenberg via Daily Mail]