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Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to rape charges

Weinstein was indicted last week for an alleged 2014 rape of an unnamed woman.

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein, center, arrives at State

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein, center, arrives at State Supreme Court to face an indictment on two counts of rape in Manhattan on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

The lawyer for former movie titan Harvey Weinstein said he might seek two separate trials on sex crimes charges as his client pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Weinstein was indicted last week for an alleged 2013 rape of an unnamed woman, and forcing a young actress to engage in oral sex with him in 2004, but defense lawyer Ben Brafman said the two alleged incidents had no common thread and Weinstein denies both.

“However reprehensible the crime of rape is, it is equally reprehensible to falsely accuse someone of rape,” Brafman told Judge James Burke. “Mr. Weinstein denies these allegations.”

Weinstein entered the packed courtroom walking with a distinct limp, wearing a blue sportcoat and jeans. He said little aside from “Not Guilty” when asked how he pleaded.

The charges culminated a monthslong investigation triggered last fall when multiple women accused Weinstein in published reports of using his power to sexually abuse them, and dozens of women have since come forward.

Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told Burke that the district attorney’s office was likely to file a so-called “Molineaux” motion in the case, which would seek permission to call women to testify to uncharged misconduct to show a pattern of behavior by Weinstein.

Brafman said that in addition to a possible severance motion, he was considering a challenge to the charges based on the statute of limitations, which was extended in New York in 2006, after one of the alleged incidents occurred.

He also responded to a lawsuit filed last week against Weinstein in which Melissa Thompson, a tech executive who alleged she was raped by Weinstein, also charged that a Brafman associate had collected information from her by claiming he was representing Weinstein victims.

Brafman and the associated, Alex Spiro, have said the interaction occurred after Spiro left Brafman’s firm but was still using his email address, and Brafman called the accusation “reckless.

Illuzzi-Orbon and Brafman told Burke they have agreed the accusation does not create a conflict of interest for Braf man representing Weinstein, but he has agreed that if prosecutors call Thompson as a witness to uncharged conduct, Brafman will not use any information still on his email server to cross examine her.

Burke scheduled Weinstein’s next court appearance for Sept. 20.

Brafman says the charged rape involved a woman, still unidentified, Weinstein had a 10-year consensual relationship with both before and after the alleged incident.

Weinstein has denied ever engaging in nonconsensual sex, and Brafman has argued the criminal charges are questionable because the alleged victims waited years to come forward.

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