Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was arraigned in Manhattan criminal court Friday morning on charges of rape in the first and third degrees, as well as criminal sexual act in the first degree, the New York City Police Department and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said.
The charges stemmed from alleged sexual assaults against two women in separate incidents in 2013 and 2004, the DA’s Office said.
In a statement from a police spokesman, the department thanked the “brave survivors” in the case “for their courage to come forward and seek justice.”
In a separate statement, District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. called the charges against Weinstein “significant progress in this active, ongoing investigation.”
Benjamin Brafman of Brafman & Associates, who represents Weinstein, said immediately after the arraignment his client intends to plead not guilty to the charges, calling them “constitutionally flawed.”
He added later in an email he intends to file a motion to dismiss the charges “as being legally flawed and not supported by credible evidence.”
Bail for Weinstein was set at $1 million cash with a $10 million bond alternative, according to the DA’s Office. Weinstein will wear a monitoring device as well, and has surrendered his passport. He is restricted to travel within New York and Connecticut, absent approval from prosecutors and the court.
Weinstein’s appearance in court followed his voluntary surrender at the 1st Precinct in Lower Manhattan this morning. He arrived at the 1st Precinct shortly before 7:30 a.m., wearing a dark blue sports jacket and a button-down shirt, flanked by two detectives.
Following Weinstein’s arraignment, Brafman told reporters that Weinstein has been under investigation for the past seven months, and that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has its own investigation underway.
“Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that any sexual activity he engaged in was consensual,” Brafman said, according to a transcript of his remarks after the arraignment. “He has vehemently denied any of the allegations which suggest that he engaged in non-consensual sexual activity. Many of these allegations are long overdue, quite frankly, having been made about events that are alleged to have occurred many years ago.”
Also on Weinstein’s defense team is Blair Berk of Tarlow & Berk in West Hollywood, California.
He said that a jury won’t be convinced of Weinstein’s guilt, “assuming we get 12 fair people who are not consumed by the movement that seems to have overtaken this case.”
Dozens of women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexually harassing and assaulting them since The New Yorker published a story detailing allegations against the former movie producer. The publication of the article last year created a cultural upheaval, launching the #MeToo movement, a broader societal and cultural reckoning with the treatment of women by men in positions of power in the workplace and beyond.
The allegations against Weinstein ultimately toppled him from his namesake media production company, but the allegations have had a ripple effect. A 2015 incident involving an Italian model, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, was believed by some law enforcement officials in New York to justify misdemeanor charges. However, Vance’s office declined to prosecute at the time.
The Manhattan DA’s Office argued that the evidence was insufficient to prove the crime. However, the decision, which fully came to light in the New Yorker article, resulted in a backlash against Vance, who was accused by some of being too soft on a powerful individual, in an office that routinely prosecutes misdemeanor sex crimes with less evidence.
In the wake of that article, the Manhattan DA’s Office ultimately launched an investigation into Weinstein based on separate incidents, which led to the calling of a grand jury.
News of Weinstein’s impending arrest first emerged on Thursday.
Andrew Denney and Christine Simmons of the New York Law Journal each contributed reporting to this article.