Weinstein indicted on sex charges


Associated Press

NEW YORK

Harvey Weinstein was indicted Wednesday on rape and criminal sex-act charges, furthering the first criminal case to arise from a slate of sexual misconduct allegations against the former movie mogul.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the indictment brings Weinstein “another step closer to accountability” for alleged attacks on two women in New York.

Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said he would “vigorously defend” against the indictment and ask a court to dismiss it. He called the allegations “unsupported” and reiterated that Weinstein strongly denies them.

The indictment came hours after Weinstein’s lawyer said the film producer would decline to testify before the grand jury because there wasn’t enough time to prepare him and “political pressure” made an indictment unavoidable.

“Regardless of how compelling Mr. Weinstein’s personal testimony might be, an indictment was inevitable due to the unfair political pressure being placed on Cy Vance to secure a conviction of Mr. Weinstein,” the statement said.

Weinstein, 66, learned of the specific charges and the accusers’ identities only after turning himself in Friday, according to his lawyers. Brafman said that with a deadline set for Wednesday afternoon for Weinstein to testify or not, prosecutors denied his request for more time.

Vance said the Weinstein camp’s “recent assault on the integrity of the survivors and the legal process is predictable.”

“We are confident that when the jury hears the evidence, it will reject these attacks out of hand,” Vance said in a statement.

Weinstein was charged Friday with raping one woman and committing a criminal sex act by compelling oral sex from another.

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