Movie mogul turned sex offender Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to further sex crimes charges in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning after being transferred to California, ending his efforts to avoid or delay extradition.
Weinstein, 69, faces 11 counts of sexual assault, including forced rape, against five women dating primarily at hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles dating back to 2004.
Sheriff’s deputies took Weinstein to court in a wheelchair, according to the Associated Press. He was wearing a brown prison jumpsuit and a face mask. His Los Angeles attorney, Mark Werksman, argued for him.
Werksman told the judge he was filing documents asking for three of the charges to be dismissed, saying they were out of time.
“They are baseless, they are from a long, long time ago, they are not corroborated,” Werksman said of the charges after the hearing. “We are convinced that if we have a fair trial he will be acquitted. “
Weinstein only spoke to say “thank you” to Judge Sergio Tapia, who wished him luck at the end of the hearing. Weinstein returns to court for a hearing on the motions next week.
Werksman, who requested a health check on Weinstein, told reporters outside of court that he was particularly concerned about Weinstein’s vision.
“He’s going blind in one eye,” the lawyer said.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Wednesday that Weinstein has been charged with the charges against him. The indictment, unsealed on Wednesday, contains essentially identical charges to those already revealed in previous criminal complaints in the case.
“Anyone who abuses their power and influence to attack others will be brought to justice,” Gascón said in a statement.
Weinstein, who was pictured arriving in Burbank on a small plane Tuesday afternoon, was booked into the Twin Towers Correctional Center in Los Angeles, operated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
He is being held on $ 5 million bond, according to his booking sheet.
Weinstein arrived in California from New York where he was imprisoned at the Wende Correctional Center near Buffalo. He is serving a 23-year sentence after being convicted of two sex crimes in Manhattan in 2020, including first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape.
Weinstein continues to deny any non-consensual sex in connection with the New York case, and he has appealed his conviction to a New York appeals court.
Weinstein was charged with the first batch of five sex crimes charges in Los Angeles in January 2020, the day his trial opened in Manhattan. In October 2020, six more charges were added by prosecutors. A grand jury rendered an indictment on all charges in March.
He is charged with four counts of rape, four counts of forced oral copulation, two counts of forcible sexual assault and one count of sexual penetration by use of force, all of which could carry a sentence of 140 years if convicted.
After his conviction and jail in the New York case, Weinstein’s legal team struggled to block or at least delay his transfer, an effort that ultimately failed.
“This morning at around 9:25 am, custody of Mr. Harvey Weinstein was handed over to the appropriate authorities for his transport to the State of California by court order,” read a statement from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision of New York State. sent to USA TODAY Tuesday.
Weinstein spokesman Judah Engelmayer said Weinstein and his legal team were “disappointed” after failing to negotiate a deal with prosecutors last month to drop the transfer.
“We are disappointed that LA DA did not wait for the judge’s decision, but we expected that to happen at some point,” the statement said. “We will fight so that Harvey can receive the medical care he needs and of course, so that he can be treated fairly.
“Due process, the presumption of innocence and a fair trial are always his right.”
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Weinstein’s attorneys have said he accepts he will eventually be transferred to Los Angeles, but has sought to delay extradition to continue medical treatment for various ailments, at least until jury selection in a trial in Los Angeles begins. He also cited the coronavirus pandemic, which is resurfacing in the state and particularly in the vast Los Angeles County.
But an Erie County judge gave the green light on June 15, and prosecutors said the likely transfer date would be by mid-July. This followed a series of hearings starting in 2020 in which Weinstein’s legal team managed to get the judge to accept delays.
Los Angeles prosecutors must now bring him to justice within 120 days, according to Greg Risling, a spokesman for Gascón.
Some of Weinstein’s many accusers and enemies in the #MeToo movement celebrated the move. Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, who represented some of her accusers in the New York trial and also represents two accusers in the Los Angeles case, said her extradition was “long overdue.”
“Justice has been delayed in Los Angeles but it will not be denied to the courageous accusers who are ready to testify in this criminal case,” she said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Elizabeth Fegan, the lawyer for several accusers, including one in the Los Angeles case, said her clients are applauding the development.
“The opportunity to hold Weinstein accountable for his actions in California gives a voice to survivors,” she said in a statement to USA TODAY. “They deserve to be heard and to hold Weinstein accountable for his actions. Our hope is that a guilty verdict in California will ensure that Harvey Weinstein will spend the rest of his life behind bars – ensuring justice for the women of the world. whole. “
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Contribution: The Associated Press