the law

Harvey Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty to 11 Counts of Rape and Sexual Assault

Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

Harvey Weinstein emerged for his first court appearance in Los Angeles this Wednesday. The disgraced movie producer arrived in a wheelchair, his arms bound to the rests, to plead not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault. According to Variety, he spoke briefly, after which Judge Sergio Tapia wished him “good luck.” On Tuesday, Weinstein was extradited from New York, where he is serving a 23-year sentence for first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape, to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles. On January 6, 2020 — the day before his trial began in Manhattan — the Los Angeles district attorney’s office alleged that Weinstein had raped and sexually assaulted two women in separate incidents over two days in 2013. In April 2020, he was additionally charged with a sexual assault that had taken place in May 2010. Six months later, prosecutors said Weinstein faced three more felony counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation, six total. During Wednesday’s hearing, his attorney Mark Werksman asked for a medical evaluation and said he planned to file a demurrer — an objection based on irrelevance — challenging three of the counts on statute-of-limitations grounds.

The Los Angeles trial has been delayed repeatedly because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Weinstein’s own health. Weinstein’s attorneys began fighting the extradition in April, arguing that he needed treatment for his worsening eyesight at a nearby facility in Buffalo. Per Variety, the Sheriff’s Department and the district attorney’s office confirmed that they do have medical facilities in Los Angeles. Following the trial, Weinstein will be sent back to New York to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty to L.A. Sexual-Assault Charges