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Harvey Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty in First Court Appearance in Los Angeles

Following his extradition to Los Angeles, Harvey Weinstein made his first court appearance to face rape charges that could serve him a prison sentence of 140 years in total. On Wednesday morning, Weinstein, who was prosecuted successfully last year on two sex crime felony charges for which he was given a 23 year sentence, arrived in court shackled and entered a not guilty plea via his attorney ark Werksman. During his whole time in court, the former movie mogul sat in a wheelchair and his only spoken words were “thank you very much” following the judge wishing him luck in his case.

The full extent of the charges were laid out today, when the April indictment of Weinstein was unsealed. The indictment states four counts of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force, which involved five women over a nine year span between 2004 and 2013. During the short hearing, Werksman said that he would be contesting three of the 11 charges based on the statute of limitations, and he would also be asking for a new evaluation of Weinstein’s ailing health, which has been cited on a number of occasions in the last year.

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Harvey Weinstein has been held without bail since arriving in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and he will be in Foltz Criminal Justice Centre on July 29th for the next hearing. A date for the trial is expected to be announced in the next few weeks. It has taken months for Weinstein to actually find himself in court again, but on Tuesday the disgraced filmmaker was taken via plane from New York. A New York State Department of Corrections spokesman said, “This morning at approximately 9:25 (AM ET) custody of Mr. Harvey Weinstein was handed over to the appropriate officials for transport to the state of California per a court order.”

The moving of Weinstein came as a surprise for the producer’s lawyers, as they have been fighting a long-standing battle to halt the extraction ever since a New York State judge last month ruled that he would be heading out to LA to face his 11 counts of sexual assault. One of Weinstein’s spokespersons told Deadline, “In April we were trying to negotiate an agreement to waive extradition for transfer to L.A. on June 15th. We are disappointed that the L.A. DA didn’t wait for the judge’s ruling, but we did expect this to happen at some point. We will be fighting so that Harvey can receive his needed medical care and of course, so that he can be treated fairly. Due process, presumption of innocence and a fair trial are all still his right.”

Back in April, Harvey Weinstein filed an appeal against his original conviction, the sentence for which he began serving in March 2020. As of yet there has been no word on the outcome of the appeal, but there are few who are expecting it to go Weinstein’s way. With the possibility of a new sentence heading his way if found guilty of any of the 11 counts now coming to trial, it is likely that the outcome of the appeal will not make a difference to his future one way or the other.

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