A grand jury has voted to indict Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on charges of rape and criminal sexual act, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Weinstein, 66, was charged Friday with first-degree and third-degree rape for an incident that occurred with an unnamed woman in 2013, and first-degree criminal sexual act for an incident that occurred with Lucia Evans in 2004. The charges were celebrated as a watershed moment by the dozens of women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct in incidents spanning decades. Weinstein has consistently denied any allegations of non-consensual sex, and his attorney Benjamin Brafman said Friday that Weinstein plans to plead not guilty to the charges.
“We remind everyone that an Indictment is merely a formal accusation,” Brafman said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said the indictment brings Weinstein “another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged.”
“Our office will try this case not in the press, but in the courtroom where it belongs. The defendant’s recent assault on the integrity of the survivors and the legal process is predictable,” Vance said in a statement Wednesday. “We are confident that when the jury hears the evidence, it will reject these attacks out of hand.”