Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to new charges of sexual assault Monday as prosecutors tried having him placed under house arrest as his criminal case plays out, The New York Post reports.
Weinstein was cuffed behind his back for his Manhattan Supreme Court appearance just one week after he was indicted on new charges of predatory sexual assault, some of which could land him behind bars for life.
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi argued that Weinstein should be subjected to house arrest because of the seriousness of the potential prison sentence, according to The New York Post.
She also said he no longer has ties to the area given the recent sale of his Westport, Connecticut, mansion.
“These cases, because they do span over the last 14 and 15 years, just show the breadth of criminality here. They don’t in any way weaken the case,” Illuzzi said.
Weinstein attorney Benjamin Brafman pushed back on calls for house arrest, saying that house arrest wasn’t necessary because his client already surrendered his passport and is wearing a location-monitoring ankle bracelet.
“Mr. Weinstein faces a potential life sentence that does not change the landscape he has lived under since he’s been charged,” Brafman said, noting that the initial rape charges carried a five- to 25-year sentence, “which for a 66-year-old person is life.”
Weinstein, who has previously denied all allegations of non-consensual sex, is free on $1 million bail, according to The New York Post.
Judge James Burke declined to change the conditions of Weinstein’s release and set the next court date in September.
Weinstein signed two new orders of protection related to the case.
“Yes, sir,” he told the judge, when asked if he understood the orders of protection.
Weinstein has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting as many as 80 women and was charged in May with rape and criminal sexual act of two separate women in 2013 and 2004, according to The New York Post.
Weinstein’s relevant accuser in this case, Mimi Haleyi, who met the powerful producer in 2004, said an alleged situation in which Weinstein held her down on a bed in one of his kid’s rooms in his Soho living space and performed oral sex on her left her “mortified.”
In court, Brafman spoke out against Haleyi’s accusations but never used any specific evidence to refute her claims, other than attempting to cast doubt over the accuser.
“If you look at YouTube of the woman in this case reading her statement in October of 2017, she reads from a script and the lawyer is so close to her that the lawyer is actually mouthing the words that she is reading,” he said.
Outside court, Brafman reiterated to a throng of reporters, “Any suggestion that Mr. Weinstein raped anyone, based on the overwhelming evidence that I have in my possession already, is ludicrous.”
Meanwhile, Allred didn’t mention Haleyi by name but said her client was more than ready to testify under oath, according to The New York Post.
“Mr. Brafman, I believe that you have a significant problem if your defense of your client, Mr. Weinstein, is that the alleged third victim consented,” Allred told reporters. “Your argument is not evidence. You may simply be repeating what your client told you. If not, you may just be floating a self-serving legal theory which you hope will gain traction.”
By: Michael Eric Rosenthal