Disgraced movie producer and Democrat Party mega-donor Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday to four counts of rape and seven other sexual assault counts.
Attorney Mark Werksman entered the plea for Weinstein a day after the #MeToo campaign target was extradited to California from New York, where he was serving a 23-year prison term. He now awaits a second trial on a second coast, and the possibility of another lengthy sentence.
Weinstein’s charges involve five women and span from 2004 to 2013. Most are said to have taken place in the hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles that the New York-based Weinstein would make his headquarters for Hollywood business. Some took place during Oscars week, when his films were perennial contenders before the #MeToo movement brought him down.
He pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force, charges that together could bring a sentence of 140 years.
A New York jury found Weinstein guilty of raping an aspiring actress in 2013 in a Manhattan hotel room and forcibly performing oral sex on a TV and film production assistant in 2006 at his Manhattan apartment. Weinstein contends that any sexual activity was consensual.