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Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to 11 counts in Los Angeles court

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a Los Angeles courtroom to four counts of rape and seven more counts of sexual assault.

Sheriff’s deputies brought the convicted 69-year-old rapist to court in a wheelchair. He was wearing a brown prison jumpsuit and a face mask. Attorney Mark Werksman pleaded for the disgraced movie mogul a day after Weinstein was extradited to California from New York City, where he was serving a 23-year prison sentence.

Weinstein only spoke to say “thank you” to Judge Sergio Tapia, who wished him luck at the end of the hearing.

He is now awaiting a second trial on a second rib, and the possibility of another long sentence.

Weinstein’s charges relate to five women and run from 2004 to 2013. Most are said to have taken place in hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles where New York-based Weinstein is said to be headquartered for Hollywood companies. Some took place during Oscar week, when his films were eternal contenders before the #MeToo movement brought him down.

He pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape, four counts of forced oral copulation, two counts of forcible sexual assault and one count of forcible sexual penetration, all of which could carry a sentence of 140 years old.

The women were not named in the prosecution documents.

A New York jury found Weinstein guilty of raping an aspiring actress in 2013 in a Manhattan hotel room and forcibly giving a blowjob to a television and film production assistant in 2006 in her apartment in Manhattan.

He is appealing this conviction, seeking a new trial. Weinstein claims his innocence and maintains that all sexual activity was consensual.

Los Angeles prosecutors first indicted Weinstein in January 2020, just as jury selection began in the New York case.

More charges were added later in the year and in March he was indicted by an LA County grand jury.

The pandemic and procedural delays meant Weinstein’s extradition took more than a year. His lawyers cited his declining health as they sought to keep him in a state prison near Buffalo, New York, until jury selection begins at the Los Angeles trial.

Weinstein’s time in California detention will count towards his New York sentence, officials said.

Once a big powerhouse in Hollywood with his brother Bob and their film companies Miramax and The Weinstein Co., Harvey Weinstein would be considered the archivillain of the #MeToo movement as of late 2017, when The Women’s Stories were released. in the New York Times and The New Yorker. He will be arrested in New York seven months later.

Rumors of Weinstein’s behavior have circulated in film industry circles for decades, but he has silenced many accusers with awards, nondisclosure deals, and fears he could crush their careers.

The Los Angeles accusations came from a task force set up to tackle sexual misconduct in Hollywood as #MeToo gained momentum.

Weinstein and porn artist Ron Jeremy are among the few indicted by the team, which declined to prosecute more than 20 famous men because the allegations against them were too old or could not be substantiated.

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