Weinstein indicted for sex crimes against third woman      

Weinstein indicted for sex crimes against third woman      

NEW YORK - AFP
Weinstein indicted for sex crimes against third woman

Harvey Weinstein was fighting rape and sexual assault charges against a total of three women July 2, as New York prosecutors build a high-stakes legal battle targeting the disgraced Hollywood mogul.

The 66-year-old's career imploded in October in a blaze of accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse from dozens of women that triggered a major reckoning about harassment in the workplace and the global #MeToo movement.

Currently out on $1 million bail, the father of five had last month already pleaded not guilty to allegedly raping one woman at a Manhattan hotel in 2013 and forcing another to perform oral sex on him in 2004.

Prosecutors announced that a New York grand jury had returned an additional count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and two counts of predatory sexual assault against Weinstein for allegedly forcing a third woman into oral sex on July 10, 2006.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said the fallen powerbroker whose films earned dozens of Oscars, could be jailed for a maximum of life or a minimum of 10 years if convicted of the latest charges.

"This indictment is the result of the extraordinary courage exhibited by the survivors," Vance said, urging other women who may have experienced "predatory abuse" at the hands of Weinstein to also come forward.

Weinstein is to be arraigned July 9 on the latest charges. His lawyer Ben Brafman said his client would enter another not guilty plea.

"Mr Weinstein maintains that all of these allegations are false and he expects to be fully vindicated. Furthermore, to charge Mr Weinstein as a predator when the interactions were each consensual is simply not justified," Brafman said.

Harvey Weinstein, sexual harrassment, sexual assault