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Harvey Weinstein arrested with rape, sex abuse charges

Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton 

BBC: Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has been charged in New York with rape and several counts of sexual abuse stemming from two separate accusers.

Mr Weinstein turned himself in to police in the city earlier in the day.

Dozens of women have made allegations against the 66 year old, including rape and sexual assault, and giving rise to the #MeToo movement. Mr Weinstein has denied committing any non-consensual sex acts. He is now out on bail, wearing a monitoring device.

A statement from the New York Police Department said Mr Weinstein “was arrested, processed and charged with rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women”.

He arrived at the police station in lower Manhattan at 07:30 (12:30 BST) on Friday, carrying three books. After having his mugshot and fingerprints taken, he was led out in handcuffs and taken to court.

During a brief court appearance, during which Mr Weinstein did not speak, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said the former mogul had “used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually”.

Mr Weinstein was released on a $1m bail bond. His lawyer Ben Brafman told reporters outside the court that the disgraced mogul would enter a not guilty plea.

“We intend to move very quickly to dismiss these charges,” Mr Brafman said. “We believe that they are constitutionally flawed. We believe that they are not factually supported by the evidence.”

In its statement, the New York Police Department thanked “these brave survivors for their courage to come forward and seek justice”.

The identity of one of the women whose accusations prompted the charges was confirmed by her lawyer on Friday. Lucia Evans, a former actress, had already publicly accused Mr Weinstein of forcing her into oral sex in 2004.

“This is an emotional moment,” her lawyer Carrie Golberg said in a statement. “Today is big. But sexual violence is still happening. A victim or offender’s fame should not matter. These cases must be prosecuted.”

These are the first criminal charges against Mr Weinstein, who already faces a raft of civil lawsuits.

The actress Rose McGowan, who accused Mr Weinstein of rape, told the BBC it had been an “amazing day for his survivors”.

“It’s a very significant moment, it’s a concrete slap in the face of abuse of power,” she said. “It’s just the beginning of that process and if we can see this through to the end, I hope we emerge victorious.”

The allegations against the disgraced mogul triggered the #MeToo movement, which sought to demonstrate and draw attention to the widespread prevalence of sexual abuse and harassment.

Category : World News.
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