Movie Mogul Harvey Weinstein Surrenders to Authorities on Rape Charges
The disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein surrendered to authorities Friday in New York City
Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein surrendered to authorities early Friday morning at a police precinct in New York where he was arrested and charged with allegedly raping a woman and forcing another to perform oral sex, police sources confirm to PEOPLE.
The 66-year-old former head of Miramax and The Weinstein Company faces charges of first-degree rape and third-degree rape in one case, and with first-degree criminal sex act in another, the sources confirm.
He is charged with criminal sex act in the first-degree in connection with an alleged 2004 sexual assault on aspiring actress Lucia Evans, the sources confirm. (Evans has agreed to be publicly named.)
The arrest of the fallen movie executive comes after a 7-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and assault against him – and just weeks after a special grand jury was convened to hear the evidence against him, the New York Daily News reports.
It’s unclear if Weinstein will face additional charges in connection with other allegations of sexual misconduct.
After turning himself in at the First Precinct in Tribeca, he was fingerprinted and booked, police sources say.
Handcuffed, he was taken to Manhattan Criminal Court, where lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi read the charges against him, the Times reports.
Months of investigation, she said, have “shown that this defendant used his money, power, and position to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” The New York Times reports.
Weinstein was not required to enter a plea at Friday’s hearing. He paid $1 million in a cashier’s check to post bail on a $10 million bond, CNN reports. He handed over his passport and his travel is now limited. He will also wear a monitoring bracelet.
Weinstein will plead not guilty if he is indicted, his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said after the hearing, the Times reports.
Calling the charges against Weinstein “factually unsubstantiated,” Brafman also said he predicted that a jury would not believe the women who have made these allegations against his client, according to the Times.
“My job is not to defend behavior — my job is to defend criminal behavior,” Brafman told the dozens of reporters waiting outside the courthouse after the hearing. “Mr. Weinstein did not create the casting couch in Hollywood.”
Brafman, did not immediately return calls for comment.
But he has said in the past that “Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that he has never engaged in nonconsensual sexual acts.”
The Birth of the #MeToo Movement
Weinstein’s arrest ends months of speculation as to whether the producer would be criminally charged after more than 80 women have accused him of sexual assault or harassment.
Many of the women came forward in — and following — the publication of bombshell, Pulitzer Prize-winning articles in The New Yorker and The New York Times in October documenting Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assaults.
Spurred on by Alyssa Milano’s galvanizing Tweet about writing “Me too” as a status if they had ever been sexually harassed or assaulted to show how widespread the issue is, a torrent of women came forward from all over the world with stories of sexual assaults of their own – helping launch the #MeToo and Times Up movements.
Charges Against Evans Stem From 2004 Encounter
Evans was an aspiring actress and a college senior when she met Weinstein at a nightclub in 2004, she told the The New Yorker. When he invited her to his office at Miramax for a meeting, he allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him, she told the magazine.
“I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him,” she told The New Yorker. “He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.”
For years afterward, she said she blamed herself for not allegedly stopping him, even developing an eating disorder, she told The New Yorker.
Word of Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct caught the attention of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in 2015 when it investigated Weinstein about alleged sexual abuse, the New York Times reported. But district attorney Cyrus Vance declined to press charges, saying that he did not believe prosecutors could have won the case.
But in October 2017, the NYPD launched a criminal investigation into Weinstein stemming from Evans’ assault allegation 13 years before, interviewing her about the details of the alleged attack.
While the woman in the rape case has not been identified, Evans agreed to be named in the criminal proceedings.
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
Weinstein’s legal woes are far from over. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York has launched a criminal probe investigating in part whether he enticed or persuaded any women to cross state lines with the intent of committing a sex crime — a potentially federal offense, according to The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the news.
Brafman has previously confirmed to PEOPLE that he has met with federal prosecutors in the SDNY “in an attempt to dissuade them from proceeding” and will continue to meet with them moving forward.