Just hours after Harvey Weinstein said he would not testify before a Manhattan grand jury, prosecutors announced the disgraced movie mogul has been indicted on first- and third-degree rape charges as well as a criminal sex-act charge.
News of the indictment arrives less than a week after the NYPD arrested Weinstein on the aforementioned sexual assault charges. According to Reuters, the 66-year-old could face up to 25 years behind bars if convicted on the most serious charges.
“This indictment brings the defendant another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in statement. “Our office will try this case not in the press, but in the courtroom where it belongs. The defendant’s recent assault on the integrity of the survivors and the legal process is predictable. We are confident that when the jury hears the evidence, it will reject these attacks out of hand.”
The alleged victims in the two rape cases have not been identified; however, authorities have confirmed they took place in 2004 and 2013.
In the months since The New York Times published an explosive report detailing decades of Weinstein’s alleged misconduct, dozens of women have come forward accusing the film producer of sexual harassment and assault. Some of the claims have been made by well-known actresses, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyong'O, Uma Thurman, and one of the most vocal leaders of the #MeToo movement Rose McGowan.
Weinstein has continued to deny all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
“Mr. Weinstein intends to enter a plea of not guilty and vigorously defend against these unsupported allegations that he strongly denies,” Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman said in a statement following his client's indictment. “We will soon formally move to dismiss the indictment and if this case actually proceeds to trial, we expect Mr. Weinstein to be acquitted.”
In addition to the NYPD probe, Weinstein is the subject of ongoing criminal investigations in California and London. He is also facing almost a dozen lawsuits filed by his accusers.