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Film

Harvey Weinstein pleads 'not guilty' to rape and sexual assault charges

@Russellisation

Four years after the initial case against Harvey Weinstein was opened, the disgraced Hollywood producer and convicted rapist has appeared in court in Los Angeles to plead not guilty to rape and sexual assault charges. 

Appearing in court in a wheelchair after being extradited from New York where he is serving a 23-year jail sentence for similar sexual assault charges, Weinstein maintains his innocence, announcing that any sexual activity he had partaken in was consensual. 

Charges against the producer include forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint, and sexual penetration by use of force, with each incident thought to have taken place in hotels in and around the LA area between 2004 and 2013. 

If found guilty of these further crimes, the producer could face a maximum sentence of 140 years, Weinstein spoke only to say “thank you” when Judge Sergio Tapia told him “good luck”. 

Mark Werksman, Weinstein’s lawyer said, following the hearing: “They are baseless, they are from long, long ago, they are uncorroborated,” concerning the multiple allegations from more than 80 women across several decades. 

During the hearing Mark Werksman also requested that his client have a health examination, notifying reporters, “He’s going blind in one eye”. 

In October 2017, substantial allegations of sexual misconduct were reported against Harvey Weinstein by The New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, kickstarting a cultural revolution that powerfully stood against sexual abuse in and out of the workplace. #MeToo would become the banner of the movement, determined to end sexual abuse and harassment through the publicising of allegations and crimes.

Four years following the emergence of such allegations and the film industry is still trying to recover its image and self-respect. Speaking to podcaster Joe Rogan, influential film director Quentin Tarantino stated that Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour towards women was “known by everybody”, before noting that he wished he had “done more” prior to the film producers conviction.

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