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Harvey Weinstein appears in Los Angeles court to face rape charges

Harvey Weinstein made his first appearance in a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday, pleading not guilty to several counts of sexual assault and initiating a legal process that will see him stand trial for alleged assaults against women who , in some cases, occurred nearly two decades ago.

Weinstein, 69, was charged in April with multiple counts of forced rape, forced oral copulation and assault and battery. He faces 11 charges in connection with alleged assaults that took place between 2004 and 2013 in Beverly Hills and West LA

The disgraced Hollywood mogul, who is already serving a 23-year sentence in New York City after being convicted of sexual assault in a trial in Manhattan last year, was extradited to California on Tuesday despite objections from his defense attorneys, who say he is desperately in need of surgery to avoid losing his sight. Weinstein denied any wrongdoing and appealed his conviction to New York.

Weinstein appeared in a downtown Los Angeles criminal court on Wednesday, wearing a brown jail sweater and sitting in a wheelchair. He did not speak during arraignment except to say thank you after the judge wished him luck.

Former Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey first laid charges against Weinstein in January 2020, on the eve of jury selection in the Manhattan case. As several alleged victims presented to the Los Angeles Police Department in 2017, shortly after reports of Weinstein’s alleged predatory behavior first emerged, prosecutors said it took years for them to gain trust. women and check their stories.

The identity of only one woman has been made public. Lauren Young, an aspiring actress who was 23 at the time of the alleged assault, accused Weinstein of trapping her in a room at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills and fiddling with her while he masturbated. Young testified as a witness to “previous bad acts” during the tycoon’s trial in New York.

A second alleged victim in the LA case, an Italian model who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity in 2017, said Weinstein attacked her inside Mr. C’s hotel in Beverly Hills in 2013. The woman alleged that Weinstein broke into her hotel room. and violently raped her.

Unlike his New York audiences, Weinstein’s first Los Angeles appearance was a more low-key affair. About two dozen journalists and lawyers lined up on the 13th floor of the downtown courthouse awaiting the tycoon’s arrival on Wednesday morning. Among them was Gloria Allred, who represented several of Weinstein’s accusers.

In court documents filed on Wednesday, Weinstein’s lead defense attorney Mark Werksman again asked a judge to send the Miramax co-founder back to New York City so he can receive medical treatment. But those arguments had already failed in several hearings in upstate New York before Weinstein’s extradition. Werksman also filed a motion on Wednesday requesting that all charges be dismissed.

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