Harvey Weinstein was arrested after being charged with sex crimes last week after he turned himself into New York police.
On Wednesday, Weinstein decided at the advice of his attorneys not to testify before the grand jury, claiming he has been “denied access to critical information about this case that was needed to defend him.”
“Our request for a postponement of his appearance before the grand jury was denied,” the disgraced producer’s lawyer said in a statement to Deadline.
“Mr. Weinstein’s attorneys noted that regardless of how compelling Mr. Weinstein’s personal testimony might be, an indictment was inevitable due to the unfair political pressure being placed on [District Attorney] Cy Vance to secure a conviction of Mr. Weinstein,” the statement added.
Wednesday afternoon, the Manhattan DA announced Weinstein was indeed indicted on rape charges brought against him.
The disgraced movie mogul’s attorney Ben Brafman released the following statement on the indictment: “The announcement of Mr. Weinstein’s indictment, does not come as a surprise. Indeed, it was predicted by me this morning in an earlier statement we issued. We also note of course that the Indictment merely mirrors the same charges in the criminal court Complaint and does not add anything to the case we did not already know.
We asked the District Attorney for more time so that Mr. Weinstein’s attorneys could gather the material needed to properly prepare him for his grand jury testimony but that request was denied.
We remind everyone that an indictment is merely a formal accusation. Mr. Weinstein intends to enter a plea of not guilty and vigorously defend against these unsupported allegations that he strongly denies. We will soon formally move to dismiss the indictment and if this case actually proceeds to trial, we expect Mr. Weinstein to be acquitted.”
A statement last week revealed that Weinstein, 66, had been charged with rape in the first and third degrees, as well as criminal sexual act in the first degree, for forcible sexual acts against two women in 2013 and 2004, respectively.
“Today’s charges reflect significant progress in this active, ongoing investigation,” said District Attorney Vance. “I thank the brave survivors who have come forward, and my Office’s prosecutors who have worked tirelessly on this investigation. I would also like to thank Commissioner James O’Neill and our dedicated partners at the NYPD.”
It was also confirmed that Weinstein’s bail had been set at $1 million cash with a $10 million bond alternative, with the next court date being on July 30.
After the news was announced, the disgraced movie-maker’s attorney, Ben Brafman, released a statement to say: “Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that he has never engaged in non-consensual sexual behaviour with anyone. Nothing about today’s proceedings changes Mr. Weinstein’s position. He has entered a plea of Not Guilty and fully expects to be exonerated.”
The NYPD added on Friday: “Today, at the NYPD’s 1st Precinct, Harvey Weinstein was arrested, processed and charged with Rape, Criminal Sex Act, Sex Abuse and Sexual Misconduct for incidents involving two separate women.
“The NYPD thanks these brave survivors for their courage to come forward and seek justice. The arrest and ensuing charges are the result of a joint investigation between the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.”
The news comes after ET Canada confirmed that Weinstein had surrendered to the NYPD at the 1st precinct before 7.30 a.m.
Numerous U.S. media outlets previously suggested the charges may relate to the accusations made by actress Lucia Evans.
Evans accused the disgraced Hollywood executive of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in 2004.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has been reviewing several cases and dozens of allegations against Weinstein, but this is the first time authorities have brought forth criminal charges. The NYPD and DA’s office were also investigating “Boardwalk Empire” actress Paz de La Huerta’s accusations that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010.
The NYPD’s Special Victims Division has also been investigating the alleged sexual assaults.
Federal prosecutors in New York’s Southern District have launched their own sex crime investigation, as well.
Rose McGowan, who has repeatedly accused Weinstein of raping her (charges he has “unequivocally denied), responded to the reports of Weinstein’s imminent surrender to authorities Thursday.
“I, and so many of Harvey Weinstein’s survivors, had given up hope that our rapist would be held accountable by law,” McGowan wrote in an Instagram post. “Twenty years ago, I swore that I would right this wrong. Today we are one step closer to justice. We were young women who were assaulted by Weinstein and later terrorized by his vast network of complicity. I stand with my fellow survivors. May his arrest give hope to all victims and survivors everywhere that are telling their truths.”
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I, and so many of Harvey Weinstein’s survivors, had given up hope that our rapist would be held accountable by law. Twenty years ago, I swore that I would right this wrong. Today we are one step closer to justice. We were young women who were assaulted by Weinstein and later terrorized by his vast network of complicity. I stand with my fellow survivors. May his arrest give hope to all victims and survivors everywhere that are telling their truths.
She later added Friday morning:
(WARNING: COARSE LANGUAGE)
McGowan wasn’t the only one taking to Twitter, with Kathy Griffin also posting:
Weinstein was photographed eating lunch in Malibu on Wednesday, his first public spotting since he entered rehab in Arizona late last year.