Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to 11 charges of rape and sexual assault in connection to the disgraced producer’s Los Angeles trial, which began Wednesday following Weinstein’s extradition from a New York prison to Southern California.
In a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday, the now-wheelchair-bound Weinstein — already serving a 23-year prison sentence — 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. If convicted on all charges, Weinstein could face a prison sentence of 140 years.
Weinstein only spoke once during the hearing, saying “thank you” to the judge as the proceedings closed, the Associated Press reports. Los Angeles prosecutors expect the trial to begin within the next 120 days, but pre-trial motions could extend that timeline, Variety writes. Weinstein’s time in Los Angeles facing trial will also count toward his New York prison sentence.
The convicted rapist was initially only charged with five counts of sexual assault in connection with the Los Angeles trial before prosecutors announced an additional six counts against Weinstein in October 2020, including two accusations of rape by two different women, five years apart but both at a Beverly Hills hotel.
Weinstein — who tested positive for coronavirus in 2020 while in prison — is currently serving a 23-year sentence after being found guilty of New York charges for third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act.
However, Weinstein is currently appealing the New York conviction, with his legal team arguing that testimony from prosecution’s “prior bad acts” witnesses should not have been allowed.
From Rolling Stone US