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Harvey Weinstein (centre) listens during a court proceeding in New York. Steven Hirsch
New York

Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to rape and criminal sex charges

Weinstein’s bail was previously set at $1 million, allowing him to remain free while he awaits trial.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN HAS pleaded not guilty to rape and criminal sex act charges in New York City.

The former film producer appeared before a judge in Manhattan today after a grand jury charged him with raping a woman and forcing another to perform oral sex on him.

The 66-year-old turned himself in at a New York police station late last month and was taken to court in handcuffs for his initial arraignment.

A judge ordered him released on a $1 million cash bail on condition that he surrender his passport and wear a location tracking device. He was ordered to remain in New York or Connecticut.

Two women are named in this indictment. But dozens more have accused the Miramax co-founder of sexual misconduct. He has denied all of the accusations, some of which date back decades.

Salma Hayek, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie are among the people who say they were sexually harassed by the producer. A few, including Asia Argento and Rose McGowan, said they were raped.

No details about the identity of the two accusers were given by the prosecutor.

The accusations sparked the #MeToo movement, in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men of misconduct.

The former film mogul has been ostracised since the accusations became public. He entered a rehabilitation facility in Arizona for sex addiction therapy.

If convicted on the most serious charges, Weinstein could face between five and 25 years in prison.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles and London have also said they are reviewing accusations of sexual assault against Weinstein.

Weinstein left the court without speaking to the media.

Benjamin Brafman, Weinstein’s lawyer, is one of America’s most celebrated criminal defence lawyers. His past clients include former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who escaped criminal prosecution for alleged sexual assault in 2011.

“Mr. Weinstein has denied these crimes. He has never engaged in nonconsensual sex with anyone,” Brafman told reporters.

Rape is a reprehensible crime. It is equally reprehensible to be falsely accused of rape. In his view, he has been falsely accused of rape.

With reporting by AFP

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