Harvey Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty Ahead Of Rape Trial In Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES:Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of rape and sexual assault involving five women in Los Angeles ahead of a second trial on accusations of sex crimes, prosecutors said.

Weinstein, 69, arrived at Los Angeles Superior Court for his first appearance there in a wheelchair, wearing a brown jail uniform, after being extradited from New York on Tuesday where he was serving 23 years in prison for rape and other sexual offenses.

Weinstein has denied having nonconsensual sex with anyone and is appealing his New York conviction and sentence.

In Los Angeles he faces 11 charges of attacking five women between 2004 to 2013. They include forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint, and sexual penetration by use of force. If convicted, Weinstein could spend the rest of his life in prison.

After entering his not guilty plea through his attorney on Wednesday, Weinstein was ordered to remain in jail until the next hearing on July 29, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office said in a statement.

His attorney said he would seek to have three of the charges dismissed on the grounds that the statute of limitations has expired.

Weinstein, once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, is accused of raping two women at hotels in Beverly Hills on separate occasions, and with sexually assaulting three other women in the Beverly Hills or Los Angeles areas, according to the charges.

He had been fighting extradition on medical grounds, citing diabetes and cardiac, back and eyesight problems.

More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct going back decades but only a handful of the allegations have resulted in criminal charges.

He co-founded the Miramax film studio, whose hit movies included “Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction.” His film studio filed for bankruptcy in March 2018.

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