Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to two new sexual assault charges

The new indictment accuses Weinstein of two counts of predatory sexual assault

By Shira Tarlo

Published August 26, 2019 1:34PM (EDT)

Harvey Weinstein (Getty/Alexander Koerner)
Harvey Weinstein (Getty/Alexander Koerner)

Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty Monday to a new indictment just weeks before his upcoming rape and sexual assault trial was set to begin.

The new indictment reportedly accuses Weinstein of two counts of predatory sexual assault, a case which includes committing sex crimes against multiple people. Those charges are essentially the same as those made in previous indictments against Weinstein, and prosecutors stated their intention to consolidate the cases Monday, according to Reuters.

The new charges are tied to testimony expected from actress Annabella Sciorra, known for her role in "The Sopranos," who claims Weinstein barged into her Manhattan apartment and raped her in 1993. Weinstein cannot be charged with raping Sciorra, because the statute of limitations has expired. However, prosecutors sought to let her tell her story to support charges of predatory sexual assault, the New York Times reported.

Weinstein's trial had been scheduled for Sept. 9, but Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke on Monday delayed it to Jan. 6, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Weinstein had already faced five criminal charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. He is free on $1 million bail after pleading not guilty in July 2018 to all of the charges.

If convicted, Weinstein could face a life sentence. He has repeatedly denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.

Sciorra told the New Yorker that Weinstein raped her in 1993, when she was filming a movie financed by his company, Miramax Films, called "The Night We Never Met," and he offered to drive her home.

"Harvey had dropped me off before, so I didn't really expect anything out of the ordinary," she said. "I expected just to be dropped off."

Weinstein allegedly said goodbye to Sciorra, who then went upstairs to her apartment. She said it was not long before she heard a knock on the door. Weinstein then "pushed the door open," she said, and "started unbuttoning his shirt."

"This is not happening," she reportedly told him. "You've got to go. You have to leave. Get out of my apartment."

Dozens of women have come forward publicly to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct after bombshell exposés published October 2017 in the New York Times and the New Yorker revealed allegations spanning nearly 30 years. The reports revealed Weinstein's behavior was an open secret in Hollywood.

Since then, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, ranging from unwanted sexual advances to rape.

In May, Weinstein accusers tentatively agreed to a $44 million settlement to resolve more than a dozen civil lawsuits against him.

The allegations against Weinstein motivated women around the world to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment at the hands of powerful men, catalyzing the decades-old #MeToo movement, which calls attention to sexual misconduct. The heightened scrutiny has rippled across industries and ensnared numerous powerful men, from journalists Matt Lauer and Mark Halperin, to chef Mario Batali and actor and comedian Aziz Ansari. Multiple women have also accused actor Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior and harassment.

Shira Tarlo

MORE FROM Shira TarloFOLLOW @shiratarlo

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