Weinstein defense: Set to 'begin our fight'

Harvey Weinstein Handcuffed

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Also on Tuesday, Weinstein entered a not guilty plea at a NY courthouse, where he was arraigned on rape and criminal sex act charges.

He was processed at the station house, the First Police Precinct, and arraigned in a NY court on charges of first-degree rape and third-degree rape in one case, and first-degree criminal sex act in another, law enforcement officials said.

According to the suit, Melissa Thompson had a 2011 business meeting that ended with Weinstein holding her down and raping her in a Manhattan hotel room.

"Weinstein had until recently seemed untouchable, harnessing his wealth and his influence in the movie industry to intimidate women out of speaking publicly and, only three years ago, withstand an investigation into groping allegations", the NYT report said. The decision could help a group of women who say they want to represent potentially "hundreds" of plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit who may have been sexually abused by Weinstein.

The 66-year-old Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex, with Brafman challenging the credibility of his alleged victims.

"Mr Weinstein is presumed innocent... however reprehensible the crime may be, it is also reprehensible to falsely accuse someone of rape", Brafman said.

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Hochul, a former Buffalo-area congresswoman, said she didn't take it personally, and that she "wouldn't descend to that level". It's unclear how much Democratic support exists and there's now no commitment their House counterparts would follow suit.

Brafman, who previously argued that the high-profile nature of the case and #MeToo movement placed unfair political pressure on prosecutors to secure a conviction, added: "As awful as the crime of rape is, it is equally reprehensible to be falsely accused".

Attorney Gloria Allred, a longtime champion of women's rights who has represented numerous women accusing comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault, was reportedly in the courtroom, seated in the gallery.

The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults unless they come forward publicly. Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi told the judge that the information wasn't leaked by her office.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has called it predictable that Weinstein's camp would attack the integrity of the women and of the legal system.

Police set up a sting in which the woman recorded herself confronting Weinstein and him apologizing for his conduct. The erstwhile couple's multi-acre bayfront estate in the Hamptons sold for $10 million; their downtown Manhattan townhouse, purchased in 2006 for $14.95 million, went for $25.6 million; and a Tudor cottage in Los Angeles that had been inhabited by one of Weinstein's children traded for $1.8 million. A judge ordered the two sides back in court in late September.

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