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Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to sexual assault in Los Angeles

Weinstein, 69, appeared in a wheelchair during the hearing, while a medical mask covered his mouth and sat under his nose.

His use of a wheelchair reflects what his lawyers have said to be the deterioration in his physical health in recent years. During his criminal trial in New York City early last year, he arrived in court each day using a walker and appeared upon his conviction in March 2020 in a wheelchair.

In Wednesday’s short hearing, Weinstein did and said little. His lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss three of the 11 charges against him, claiming the statute of limitations has expired. The lawyer also requested a medical assessment, which the judge granted.

The 11 counts include four counts of forced rape, four counts of forced oral copulation, two counts of forced sexual assault and one count of sexual penetration by use of force. The alleged assaults involved five women between 2004 and 2013.

His next court appearance is July 29.

“He absolutely, unequivocally and categorically denies the allegations in this indictment,” said Mark Werksman, Weinstein’s lawyer. “They are indisputable, unproven, incredulous and unfounded, and that will become clear as we go through this case.”

Weinstein becomes blind in one eye and is in a wheelchair for issues related to his spinal stenosis, the lawyer said.

“They made statements in court that they would meet his medical needs and we expect them to,” Werksman said. “And we asked the judge to order that they do it and I expect them to do it.”

Gloria Allred, who represents two of the victims in this case, disputed Werksman’s comments on the allegations in the indictment.

“Allegations of sexual assault and rape take a long time to be reported, so the idea that they may not have been disclosed to a law enforcement officer for many years does not mean that they are not credible, ”she said.

She wants Weinstein to receive all the medical care he has available. “We want him to be in good shape for the trial.”

Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence

The court hearing comes nearly four years after investigative articles from The New York Times and The New Yorker exposed Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual abuse, harassment and secret settlements as he used his influence as a Hollywood broker to take advantage of young women.

The revelations led a wave of women to speak publicly about the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and harassment in what is known as the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein was convicted last year in New York of first-degree felony sex act and third-degree rape and is serving a 23-year sentence in a maximum security prison outside of Buffalo. He did not testify in his own defense, but during his sentencing last March he gave an unexpected and rambling speech that wavered between remorse, defense of his actions and confusion.

“I’m not going to say they’re not great people, I had a wonderful time with these people, you know,” Weinstein said of the women who accused him of assault. “It’s just that I’m totally confused and I think men are confused about all of these issues.”

Due to his declining health, his lawyers decried the long prison term as a de facto life sentence. His legal team appealed earlier this year, saying a biased judge and juror tainted the trial.

Last month, a New York judge approved his extradition to Los Angeles County to face new charges.

He was originally charged in Los Angeles County in January 2020 with sexually assaulting two women in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013. In April, prosecutors added an additional charge that stemmed from a alleged incident at a Beverly Hills hotel in May 2010., and in October, prosecutors added six new charges.

He denied the allegations, according to his spokesman Judah Engelmayer.

“Harvey Weinstein has always maintained that each of his physical encounters throughout his life was consensual. That hasn’t changed,” Engelmayer said.

CNN’s Lauren del Valle contributed to this report.


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