Harvey Weinstein Faces New Sexual Assault Charges—What Does This Mean? Everything You Need to Know

If he’s found guilty, he could face up to 25 years in prison

Laura Hensley
Harvey Weinstein in court after being charged with sexual assault

(Photo: Getty)

Disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein has been indicted on additional sexual assault charges.

In a statement made by the Manhattan District Attorney on July 2, Weinstein has been charged with one count of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree, and two counts of predatory sexual assault.

The latter charge of predatory sexual assault carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Weinstein is scheduled for arraignment on the new charges July 9.

These are the latest criminal charges filed against Weinstein since the New York Times and New Yorker published exposés containing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him. More than 80 women, including actors Ashley Judd and Lupita Nyong’o, have come forward with similar allegations against Weinstein, amplifying the existing #MeToo movement to global proportions and sparking the Time’s Up initiative.

These charges come just under a month after the producer plead not guilty to two counts of rape and a criminal sex act, in front of a Manhattan court on June 5. The 66-year-old turned himself in to New York police on May 25. As of right now, none of these allegations have been proven in a court of law.

So now that Weinstein is *finally* facing legal recourse, what happens next? Here’s what you need to know about Weinstein and the charges laid against him.

How did these charges come to be?

Weinstein has been charged with first-degree rape, third-degree rape, two counts of predatory sexual assault and two counts of committing a first-degree criminal sexual act. As reported by the Associated Press, and CTV, the charges against Weinstein stem from three women: two who have not been identified to the press and marketing consultant and former aspiring actress Lucia Evans.

The rape charges involve a woman who has not come forward publicly, but says that Weinstein confined her in a Manhattan hotel room against her will and raped her in 2013. The other charge is from allegations made by Lucia Evans, a former aspiring actress who told the New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to give him oral sex in 2004.

The most recent charges—one count of committing a first degree criminal sexual act and two counts of predatory sexual assault—were laid against Weinstein for performing a forcible sex act on an unnamed woman in 2006.

Weinstein is pleading not guilty to the charges, and his lawyer told the press that the producer denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

Why isn’t Weinstein in jail?

Weinstein was released on US$1 million cash bail on May 25 after his lawyer Benjamin Brafman negotiated a bail package and the presiding judge agreed to it. As reported by the Times, in New York, “the only question a judge may consider in weighing bail is risk of flight, not whether the defendant poses a threat to the community.” Because Brafman successfully argued Weinstein had no record of arrest and will show up for his court appearances, he’s currently free to live at home. The conditions of Weinstein’s bail include him wearing a tracking device and surrendering his passport. Weinstein is also not allowed to travel outside of New York and Connecticut.

Usually, in New York, defendants who do not have the money to post bail end up being held at Rikers Island awaiting their trail, the Times notes. One of Weinstein’s accusers, actor Annabella Sciorra, ‏tweeted that the alleged rapist should be “behind bars in Rikers” and not walking around free just because he’s rich.

So what happens next?

On May 30, a grand jury indicted Weinstein on charges that he forced one woman to perform oral sex in his office and that he raped a second woman at a hotel, the Manhattan District Attorney Office said per the New York Times.

The indictment came less than a week after Weinstein turned himself in to NYPD and was arrested for the alleged sex crimes. He has plead not guilty to these charges.

On June 2, a grand jury indicted the producer once again on charges that he performed a forcible sex act on an unnamed woman. After being indicted—a process that usually takes longer than five days—Weinstein will head to trial and face a jury. Weinstein’s attorney says he plans to plead not guilty to these new charges. If he is found guilty for his alleged crimes, he can face up to 25 years in prison.

Will there be more charges laid against Weinstein?

In November, New York police said they were “investigating allegations by another accuser, Boardwalk Empire actress Paz de la Huerta,” who told police in October that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010, as reported by the New York Times. The Times also reports that the grand jury that indicted Weinstein is still hearing from witnesses, meaning they could add charges to his existing ones. “Prosecutors are also digging into the books of Mr. Weinstein’s companies, searching for evidence of financial crimes,” the outlet says.

Authorities in Los Angeles and London have also said that they are investigating allegations against Weinstein. And in England, there’s no statute of limitation on rape cases—which means he could get charged for alleged assaults from decades ago.

Here’s how celebrities are reacting

More than 80 women have made allegations against Weinstein that range from sexual misconduct, unwanted touching, attempted rape to rape—and many of his accusers are also famous actors including Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Asia Argento and Lupita Nyong’o. After Weinstein turned himself over to the authorities, many reacted on Twitter.

With files from the Associated Press

Related:

Is It Too Soon to Make TV Shows and Movies About Harvey Weinstein?
It’s Official: Harvey Weinstein Faces Sex Crime Charges and Turned Himself In to Police
Multiple Women Accuse Morgan Freeman of Inappropriate Behaviour and Harassment

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