Entertainment

Weinstein pleads not guilty to rape and sexual assault charges

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NEW YORK NY- JUNE 5 Harvey Weinstein and attorney Benjamin Brafman arrive at State Supreme Court

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of rape and sexual assault, his lawyer said, in the first cases involving the disgraced producer to be tested in criminal court since scores of accusers emerged previous year.

Weinstein is scheduled to be arraigned in NY on rape and criminal sex act charges.

The twice-married father of five has been indicted for allegedly forcing a woman to perform oral sex on him in 2004, and for allegedly raping another at a Manhattan hotel in 2013.

This comes seven months after several media outlets published reports of alleged abuse by the movie mogul.

Weinstein has steadfastly denied all accusations of nonconsensual sex.

Mr Weinstein is now free on $1m (£751,000) bail.

Dozens more women have accused the disgraced Hollywood producer of sexual misconduct.

Allegations against Weinstein helped spark the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

A statement previously issued by Weinstein's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said: "After being unfairly denied access to critical information about this case that was needed to defend him before the grand jury, Mr Weinstein's attorneys decided there was not sufficient time to properly prepare Mr Weinstein". Prosecutors say Weinstein held an unnamed woman in a room against her will and raped her.

"I said, over and over, 'I don't want to do this, stop, don't, '" Evans told The New Yorker in a story published in October.

If convicted, that crime could put him in prison for as many as 25 years.

The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults unless they come forward publicly.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney's office reportedly met privately with another woman on Monday after she and two other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Weinstein.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance brought the charges against Weinstein after a lengthy investigation.

Weinstein's second court date is September 20, 2018.

He has also surrendered his passport and has agreed to stay within the states of NY and CT.

His lawyer Benjamin Brafman challenged the credibility of his alleged victims and said his client was confident he was going to clear his name.

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