Harvey Weinsten, the disgraced Hollywood movie mogul, has been indicted on criminal sex and rape charges according to a statement from the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Here’s what happened
Weinstein was arrested Friday on first and third-degree rape charges stemming from accusations by two women, one identified as a former acting student. He was released on $1 million bail, but ordered to wear an ankle bracelet.
“This indictment brings the defendant another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged,” said district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. on Wednesday.
“Our office will try this case not in the press, but in the courtroom where it belongs,” he added. “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.”
Earlier during the hearing, Weinstein’s attorney indicated that he would not be testifying on his behalf in front of the grand jury. Weinsten has denied the charges against him.
Weinstein’s defense attorney Ben Brafman told reporters Tuesday that one of the accusers had a longtime relationship with the movie producer, in an attempt to cast doubt on the allegations.
“This is an extraordinary case in my judgement where the only rape victim that Mr. Weinstein is accused of raping is someone with whom he has had a 10-year consensual sexual relationship,” Brafman said, “both before and after the alleged incident.”
Brafman came under fire for his previous statement in defense of his client, when he said that Weinstein “did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood.”
The beginning of the “Me Too” movement
The “open secret” of Weinstein’s abuses spurred the “Me Too” movement when it was finally documented and revealed numerous accusations from his alleged victims. The culture of silence that helped him allegedly continue to wield his power to pressure and abuse women was unveiled in the entertainment industry, and encouraged other victims to reveal their abuse in other parts of society.
Some have claimed that the movement has gone too far and has caused false or exaggerated accusations to be made against men who were unfairly harmed in a courtroom of unaccountable public opinion.
Here’s a local news story on the indictment: