NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to rape and criminal sex act charges.
Weinstein, slightly limping, was met by a throng of cameras as he entered the courtroom for his arraignment Tuesday morning after a grand jury indicted the former movie mogul last week on charges involving two women.
Following the hearing, Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, called the case against his client “imminently defensible” based on what they have learned about the evidence.
“We begin our fight now,” Brafman said. “We will fight this case in the courtroom.”
He said that as bad as the crime of rape is, it’s equally reprehensible to be falsely accused.
“Mr. Weinstein has denied these crimes. He has maintained that he has never engaged in nonconsensual sex with anyone,” Brafman said. “In his view, he has been falsely accused of rape and I intend to help him win this case fair and square on the merits or the lack of merits.”
The first incident allegedly happened in 2004 at the old Weinstein company offices on Greenwich Street. Actress Lucia Evans says Weinstein forced her perform a sex act.
The second allegedly occurred in 2013 at the Double Tree Hotel in Midtown. Prosecutors say Weinstein held an unnamed woman in a room against her will and raped her.
Prosecutors outlined the charges after Weinstein’s arrest last month.
“This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” said Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi.
Dozens more women have accused him of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to assault.
The 66-year-old Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. Brafman previously called the rape allegation “absurd,” saying that the accuser and Weinstein had a decadelong, consensual sexual relationship that continued after the alleged 2013 attack.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has said it was predictable that Weinstein’s camp would attack the integrity of the women and of the legal system.
Weinstein is out on $1 million bail. He was also ordered to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet and surrender his passport and is only allowed to travel within New York and Connecticut.
“I think under the circumstances, he’s holding up reasonably well,” Brafman said Tuesday.
Brafman added that he’s considering asking the judge to separate the case into two trials, because of the span of time between the two allegations.
Weinstein is due back in court in September.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)