Hours after Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer said the producer would not testify before a grand jury, the same panel has now indicted the disgraced Oscar winner on two sets of rape charges and a sex crime charge.
“A Grand Jury has voted to indict Harvey Weinstein on charges of Rape in the First and Third Degrees, and Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said this afternoon. (Read the two-page indictment here, but be warned there are graphic descriptions of sex acts in it.)
If found guilty, the Oscar-winning producer could find himself behind bars for up to 25 years.
On Friday, Weinstein did the perp walk after surrendering himself to the NYPD. He was arrested and charged with two counts of rape (one involving force) as well as a criminal sexual act in the first degree, for alleged assaults against two women that occurred in 2013 and 2004 — the same charges the indictment just slapped down.
While the D.A. has been pecked at for moving too slow on the material the NYPD handed over against the much accused Weinstein, the grand jury has quietly been sitting for several weeks and issuing subpoenas. That process has now been unleashed.
“This indictment brings the defendant another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged,” Vance said of the latest legal move against the producer. “Our office will try this case not in the press, but in the courtroom where it belongs. The defendant’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.”
The remark about not trying the matter in the media is clearly directed at Weinstein lawyer Benjamin Brafman, who has been in front of the press the past few days floating trial balloons so to speak of the producer being denied vital case information and concerns that his client could get a fair trial amid media scrutiny. The New York-based attorney has also taken to trying to undermine the case by stating that one of the women cited in the charges and the ones today was someone Weinstein had a “consensual sexual relationship” with for five years before and several years after the alleged 2013 rape. Add to that, nudges and winks of “unfair political pressure being placed on Cy Vance to secure a conviction of Mr. Weinstein,” and you have a defense strategy in the offering.
“The announcement of Mr. Weinstein’s Indictment, does not come as a surprise,” Brafman said after this afternoon’s announcement. “Indeed, it was predicted by me this morning in an earlier statement we issued,” he also made a point of noting. “We also note of course that the Indictment merely mirrors the same charges in the criminal court Complaint and does not add anything to the case we did not already know. We asked the District Attorney for more time so that Mr Weinstein’s attorneys could gather the material needed to properly prepare him for his grand jury testimony but that request was denied.”
“We remind everyone that an Indictment is merely a formal accusation,” Brafman asserted Wednesday for his client. “Mr Weinstein intends to enter a plea of Not Guilty and vigorously defend against these unsupported allegations that he strongly denies. We will soon formally move to dismiss the indictment and if this case actually proceeds to trial, we expect Mr Weinstein to be acquitted.”
As well as being investigated by federal prosecutors, the Manhattan D.A. and the NYPD, Weinstein is being probed by the LAPD, which sent three cases to the L.A. County D.A. on February 8. As UK police continue their investigation, the Beverly Hills Police passed two cases of sexual assault to Jackie Lacey’s office on January 2.
There are also nearly a dozen lawsuits filed in the courts against Weinstein from some of the 80 women who have gone public with allegations of sexual assault and more by the once powerful producer.
After being booked in a NYPD precinct, Weinstein was arraigned on felony sex crime charges in New York Criminal Court. A judge set a prearranged bail of $1 million, a $10 million bond, took Weinstein’s passport to halt concerns of flight risk, and clamped a monitor on the producer to ensure his movements were restricted to the Empire State and Connecticut.
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