Charged with raping one woman and forcing another to perform oral sex, disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein surrendered Friday to NYPD detectives and appeared in court to post $1 million bail. As the catalyst of the #MeToo movement, Weinstein’s downfall has led to the resignations and forced retirements of more than 70 prominent men accused of sexual misconduct and abuse.
After decades of sexually abusing women and using his power to coerce them into submission or purchase their silence, Weinstein was charged with three felonies — rape in the first degree, rape in the third degree, and a criminal sexual act in the first degree. He is accused of forcing Lucia Evans to perform oral sex on him during a casting meeting at the Miramax office in TriBeCa in 2004 and raping a second victim, who has not been publicly identified, in 2013.
During a 2015 NYPD investigation into sexual assault allegations against Weinstein, Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez agreed to wear a wire after Weinstein admittedly groped her breast without consent at his offices in New York. According to the audio recording, Weinstein persisted in threatening her career and refusing to answer her phone calls if she did not enter his bathroom to watch him take a shower.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. decided not to prosecute criminal charges against the prominent film executive despite the fact that law enforcement sources assert they gathered more than enough evidence to charge him with sexual abuse in the third degree. After Vance failed to press criminal charges, Weinstein reportedly sent his lawyers to convince Gutierrez to sign a nondisclosure agreement prohibiting her from mentioning the NYPD audio and the sexual allegations against him.
On Friday, Weinstein surrendered to law enforcement and appeared in court to post $1 million bail, turn over his passport, and agree to wear an electronic monitoring device at all times. After the hearing, Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said that his client plans to enter a plea of not guilty if he is indicted.
“I anticipate that the women who have made these allegations, when subjected to cross-examination — in the event we will get that far — will not be believed by 12 people,” Brafman told a group of reporters outside the courthouse on Friday. “Assuming we get 12 fair people who are not consumed by the movement that seems to have overtaken this case.”
According to The New York Times, at least 71 men have fallen from power after similar accusations of sexual misconduct emerged during the #MeToo movement.