Harvey Weinstein pled not guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in 2006 during an arraignment in downtown Manhattan on Monday.
It was a familiar scene for the 66-year old movie mogul. He had previously been arraigned in June on charges of first- and third-degree rape, and a first-degree criminal sexual act involving two other women. The charges stem from incidents that allegedly took place in 2004 and 2013.
A handcuffed Weinstein entered the court room on Monday wearing a dark suit, a white shirt, and a navy blue tie. He looked ashen and appeared to have shed some weight from his hulking frame. He was flanked by his attorney Benjamin Brafman, and whispered to him at various points during the arraignment.
Weinstein, the producer of hit indie films such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love,” was a force in Hollywood, renowned for his ability to pick art house fare that could cross over into the mainstream, and feared for his volatile temper. He also had deep ties to the Beltway, raising money for President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during their White House runs.
However, Weinstein’s career is in tatters. Dozens of women have come forward in recent months to accuse the producer of assaulting or harassing them. His accusers include prominent actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Ashley Judd. Weinstein’s fall helped lead to an industry-wide reckoning, one that led to charges of assault or misbehavior being leveled against other powerful figures such as Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Matt Lauer, and Brett Ratner.
The new charges stem from accusations that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on a woman in July 2006. It carries a potential life sentence if convicted. He faces a minimum of 10 years in prison if found guilty. Law enforcement has not publicly identified any of the three women accusing Weinstein of assault, but one accuser, former marketing executive Lucia Evans, previously said she was pressing charges.
Weinstein faces a number of potential legal issues. Police in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and London are also investigating allegations that the producer assaulted or sexually abused women.
Weinstein is currently free on $1 million bail. Prosecutors spent most of the 20-minute hearing pushing to have the mogul placed under house arrest in New York City, a proposal that Weinstein’s attorney objected to, noting that he currently lives in Connecticut.
“He’s 66 years old with no criminal record,” said Brafman, arguing that if Weinstein moved to New York City, he would be hounded by media and would have to deal with a “circus atmosphere.” His Connecticut home has been sold, but Weinstein can remain there through February.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke said that bail conditions will remain the same and Weinstein will not be under house arrest. In an impromptu press conference on the steps of the court house, Brafman said he had emails to defend Weinstein and added that “he is not a rapist or a predator.”
The attorney said that Weinstein was trying to clear his name so he could “hopefully go back to making movies.”
On Monday, the court room was nearly filled with media. Gloria Allred, an attorney who is representing one of Weinstein’s accusers, was also on hand. Brafman approached Allred shortly before the hearing and shook her hand.
“How are you?” he asked. “Glad you could make it.”
Allred later released a statement asking if Brafman was willing to put Weinstein on the witness stand.
“My client will testify under oath at the trial,” she said. “Are you ready to state unequivocally that Mr. Weinstein is ready to take the witness stand and testify as well?”