Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to rape, criminal sex act charges

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Film producer Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to rape and criminal sex act charges in NY.

Actress Lucia Evans says Weinstein forced her perform a sex act.

This comes seven months after several media outlets published reports of alleged abuse by the movie mogul. The indictment brings Weinstein "another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged", according to Vance.

He is now out on a one million dollar (£751,060) bail, and must wear an electronic tracking device at all times. "In his view, he has been falsely accused of rape and I intend to help him win this case fair and square on the merits or the lack of merits".

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The former film producer has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women.

The accusations, first reported by the New York Times and the New Yorker previous year, gave rise to the #MeToo movement, in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of misconduct.

"Regardless of what's happening in the #MeToo movement, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Weinstein engaged in these unlawful acts with these particular women".

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".

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"I think under the circumstances, he's holding up reasonably well", Brafman said Tuesday. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, has challenged the credibility of his alleged victims and says his client is confident he will clear his name.

If convicted on the most serious charges, Weinstein could be sentenced to prison for between five and 25 years.

Indeed, it is the same Brafman who defended the former International Monetary Fund director against the same Manhattan prosecutor, Cyrus Vance. They urged other victims to come forward and join the complaint. The device monitors his location 24 hours a day, and restricts him to only travel in NY state and CT.

Weinstein is due back in court in September.

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