Harvey Weinstein listens during a court proceeding in New York on Friday, May 25, 2018. Weinstein was arraigned Friday on rape and other charges in the first criminal prosecution to result from the wave of allegations against him that sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct. (Steven Hirsch/New York Post via AP, Pool)

Weinstein Indicted for Rape and Criminal Sexual Conduct

May 30, 2018
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by Leila Miller Tow Journalism Fellow, FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellowships

A grand jury voted to indict Harvey Weinstein on charges of raping one woman and forcing another to perform oral sex less than a week after the Hollywood producer turned himself in to authorities.

The indictment, filed on Wednesday, May 30, charges Weinstein with committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree in 2004, as well as with first-degree and third-degree rape for incidents that occurred in 2013. The most serious charges carry a sentence of 5 to 25 years in prison.

They are the first criminal charges against the producer, who was arrested in New York on May 25 and released on a $1 million cash bail.  The victim alleging rape has not been identified publicly, but the criminal sex act charge involves then aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who confirmed to the New Yorker last week that she was pressing charges. She told the magazine in October that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex at his Miramax office in Tribeca after having invited her there for a meeting.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has said that it will keep investigating other allegations. Weinstein is also under federal investigation, and police in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and London have opened their own probes.

In its documentary Weinstein, FRONTLINE investigated a culture of silence and complicity in Hollywood that enabled Weinstein to continue a pattern of alleged harassment that spanned decades. To date, more than 100 women have come forward with allegations against him.

“This indictment brings the defendant another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement about Wednesday’s charges. “Our office will try this case not in the press, but in the courtroom where it belongs.”

Weinstein’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told reporters after the producer’s arraignment last week that Weinstein would plead not guilty, and that his client has maintained that any sexual activity he engaged in was consensual. “Bad behavior is not on trial in this case,” Brafman said. “It is only if you intentionally committed a criminal act, and Mr. Weinstein vigorously denies that.”

On Tuesday, Brafman said that the woman accusing Weinstein of rape had a 10-year relationship with him before and during the time of the alleged incident. He said in a statement on Wednesday that “an indictment was inevitable due to the unfair political pressure being placed on Cy Vance to secure a conviction of Mr. Weinstein.”

In March, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a review of Vance’s decision not to prosecute Weinstein after a 2015 New York Police Department sting secretly recorded him apologizing to Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez for groping her. Vance’s office has said they acted professionally.

Weinstein’s next court date is June 5.

This story was updated June 2, 2018 to reflect the latest court date.

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