Lawyer: Harvey Weinstein ‘Did Not Invent the Casting Couch in Hollywood’

Harvey Weinstein, right, listens to his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, in court in New York on Friday, May 25, 2018. Weinstein was arraigned Friday on rape and other charges in the first criminal prosecution to result from the wave of allegations against him that sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct. …
Steven Hirsch/New York Post via AP, Pool

Harvey Weinstein will plead not guilty to sex crime charges, Ben Brafman, the filmmaker’s defense attorney, announced Friday morning.

“Mr. Weinstein will enter a plea of not guilty. We intend to move very quickly to dismiss these charges, we believe that they are constitutionally flawed, we believe that they are not factually supported by the evidence,” the attorney told reporters outside a Manhattan criminal court.

When asked to comment on his client’s alleged “pattern of misconduct,” Brafman said his job is to defend his client from criminal charges, not “bad behavior.”

“Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood, to the extent that there is bad behavior in that industry… Bad behavior is not on trial in this case. It is only if you intentionally committed a criminal act, and Weinstein vigorously denies that,” the attorney told reporters.

“We believe that at the end of the process Mr. Weinstein will be exonerated.”

As part of a bail package negotiated in advance, he will put up $1 million in cash and will agree to wear a monitoring device. His travel will be restricted and he will surrender his passport, the New York Times reported.

Weinstein was arraigned Friday on rape and other charges in the first criminal prosecution to result from the wave of allegations against him that sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct.

Seven months after the allegations destroyed his career and catalyzed the #MeToo movement, the once-powerhouse movie producer turned himself in to face the charges, which stem from encounters with two of the dozens who have accused him of sexual misdeeds ranging from harassment to assault.

“This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” Manhattan Assistant Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said in court. Weinstein raised his eyebrows as he heard it.

Weinstein has consistently denied any allegations of nonconsensual sex. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, didn’t elaborate further on the denials Friday, saying he wasn’t there “to try the case” at this point.

A judge agreed to release Weinstein on $1 million bail, with constant electronic monitoring and a ban on traveling beyond New York and Connecticut.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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