New York, May 31 (IANS) Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been indicted on sex-crime charges, hours after he said he would not testify before a grand jury.
The grand jury voted on Wednesday to indict Weinstein on charges of first- and third-degree rape, and first-degree criminal sexual act, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said.
The charges are the same that were filed by cops last week when Weinstein, 66, surrendered to face arrest in a pair of alleged sex attacks in Manhattan in 2004 and 2013, the New York Post reported.
“This indictment brings the defendant another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged,” DA Cyrus Vance Junior said.
Vance, who said the Weinstein probe “remains active and ongoing”, also blasted what he called the movie mogul’s “recent assault on the integrity of the survivors and the legal process”.
“We are confident that when the jury hears the evidence, it will reject these attacks…,” Vance added.
Vance has faced fierce criticism over his 2015 decision not to prosecute Weinstein for allegedly groping a model to whom Weinstein apologised on a secret recording made by cops, New York Post reported.
Earlier on Wednesday, a statement from Weinstein’s representatives said he decided not to appear before the grand jury “on the advice of his attorneys”, including veteran defence lawyer Benjamin Brafman.
In a statement, Brafman said: “Weinstein “intends to enter a plea of ‘Not Guilty’ and vigorously defend against these unsupported allegations that he strongly denies.”
“We will soon formally move to dismiss the indictment and if this case actually proceeds to trial, we expect Weinstein to be acquitted,” New York Post quoted Brafman as saying.
More than 80 women have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to rape.
He has denied engaging in any “non-consensual sexual conduct”.