TV Harvey Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty To Rape

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Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein leaves an arraignment hearing where he pleaded not guilty on two counts of rape in NY.

Weinstein, 66, entered his plea in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday morning after a grand jury indicted him last week in two cases.

He didn't stop to speak with journalists or respond to shouted questions and was back in his waiting SUV in just 40 minutes.

The accusations gave rise to the #MeToo movement, which has seen hundreds of women publicly accusing powerful men in business, government and entertainment of sexual harassment and abuse. The disgraced film producer has maintained his innocence since allegations surfaced.

Weinstein's lawyer, Ben Brafman, had previously said he thinks prosecutors have "unfairly denied access to critical information about this case".

"Today is the first day of this process", he said. "We begin our fight now", he said, adding that his defence would include trying to get prosecutors to drop the case. "If we are successful, there may not be a trial".

The accusation of forced oral sex comes from Lucia Evans, a marketing consultant who, in 2004, was an aspiring actress. Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman and Justin Henry, a spokesman for the prosecutor, confirmed that Weinstein had pleaded not guilty.

In a Manhattan federal lawsuit filed Friday, Weinstein rape accuser Melissa Thompson said she'd turned over key evidence to Brafman's former associate Alex Spiro - before learning his firm Brafman & Associates was representing Weinstein.

The Guardian reports that Weinstein walked into the Manhattan court "with a limp, looking pale and taking in his surroundings".

In court, Brafman reiterated that there was no potential of a conflict of interest because he never met Thompson and only became "aware of her existence several days ago".

Brafman also said he thought the unnamed victim could come out after he filed subpoenas.

He has also surrendered his passport and has agreed to stay within the states of NY and CT.

He is out on a one million dollar (£751,060) bail, and must wear an electronic tracking device at all times. He is scheduled to return to court September 20.

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