A grand jury has voted to indict Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on charges of rape, according to a news release by the Manhattan District Attorney Wednesday.
"This indictment brings the defendant another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a Wednesday statement. He has been indicted on charges of rape in the 1st and 3rd degrees in one case and for 1st degree criminal sex act in another. He could face up to 54 years in jail if convicted.
"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 statement adds.
This week, Weinstein's attorney Benjamin Brafman said in a statement that Weinstein won't testify before the New York grand jury on the sex crime charges against him.
"The identities of the accusers and the specific charges were provided to Mr. Weinstein last Friday on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend and a deadline for his appearance set for Wednesday [at] 2 p.m. Our request for a postponement of his appearance before the grand jury was denied. Accordingly, Mr. Brafman will inform the district attorney today that Mr. Weinstein intends to follow the advice of his lawyers and not testify before the grand jury," the statement adds.
"After being unfairly denied access to critical information about this case that was needed to defend him before the grand jury, Mr. Weinstein's lawyers decided that there was not sufficient time to properly prepare Mr. Weinstein," Brafman said in the statement.
Weinstein has been the subject of a probe by New York police and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office since October 2017. The Miramax co-founder and former head is facing charges that he forced aspiring actress Lucia Evans to perform oral sex on him in 2004, according to the Daily News. Evans told Ronan Farrow, who broke open the story in October of the allegations about Weinstein for the New Yorker after years of rumors, that she clearly told the producer to stop, over and over, during the episode.
Weinstein has also been accused of sexual misconduct and assault — including rape — by actresses Rose McGowan and Asia Argento, as well as a host of other women, including some who worked for him at Miramax. Some members of his staff have also been accused of enabling or brushing off his behavior. Weinstein has admitted to boorish manners, but denied any wrongdoing, according to Brafman.
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