Harvey Weinstein arrested: Charges against Hollywood mogul range from rape to criminal sex acts

AP

May 26, 2018 14:52:12 IST

It was the moment the #MeToo movement had been waiting for: Harvey Weinstein in handcuffs.

His face pulled in a strained smile and his hands locked behind his back, the once-powerful Hollywood figure emerged from a police station Friday facing rape and criminal sex act charges, a searing reckoning for the man who became a symbol of a worldwide outcry over sexual misconduct. "This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually," Manhattan Assistant Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said later, in words that brought raised eyebrows from the otherwise stony-faced Weinstein.

The charges stem from encounters with two of the dozens of women — some famous, some not — who have accused him of sexual misdeeds. The rape charge involves a woman who has not come forward publicly; the other is a onetime aspiring actress who was among his first accusers.

Weinstein has consistently denied any allegations of nonconsensual sex. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said Friday that he would fight to get the charges dismissed.

Harvey Weinstein. Image from Twitter/@TrumpTrain45Pac.

Harvey Weinstein. Image from Twitter/@TrumpTrain45Pac.

The top charges against him carry the potential for up to 25 years in prison. He's accused of confining a woman in a Manhattan hotel room and raping her in 2013, according to a court complaint.

The criminal sex act charge stems from a 2004 encounter between Weinstein and Lucia Evans, a then-aspiring actress who told The New Yorker he forced her to perform oral sex during a daytime meeting in his office. "We are relieved and grateful that justice is coming, but we also mourn the cases where it didn't," her lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, said in a statement to AP.

More than 75 women have accused Weinstein of wrongdoing, and authorities in California and London are also investigating assault allegations. Brafman also has said that Weinstein was a "principal target" of an investigation being conducted by the US attorney's office in Manhattan. New York City police have also been investigating allegations by Boardwalk Empire actress Paz de la Huerta, who told police last fall that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010.

Other women who have publicly accused Weinstein of criminal sexual assaults include actress Rose McGowan, who said Weinstein raped her in 1997 in Utah; Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, who said he raped her in her New York apartment in 1992, and Norwegian actress Natassia Malthe, who said he attacked her in a London hotel room in 2008.

Until the scandal, Weinstein was among the most influential forces in American film. Companies he co-founded, Miramax and the Weinstein Co., were behind such hits as Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love and The King's Speech.

But there were rumours in Hollywood for years about Weinstein's pursuit of young actresses. And in 2015, an Italian model went to New York City police and accused him of groping her during a meeting. Police set up a sting in which the woman recorded herself confronting Weinstein. But Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. decided not to bring charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Updated Date: May 26, 2018 14:52 PM