Harvey Weinstein, the 69-year-old American film producer serving a 23-year prison sentence in New York state prison for several sex crimes, pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of alleged sexual assault related to five women at a court in California on Wednesday, BBC reported.
Appearing before a Los Angeles courtroom in a wheelchair on Wednesday, Weinstein maintained his innocence saying all incidents related to the allegations were consensual.
After the hearing, claiming that the charges were not credible, his lawyer Mark Werksman said “They are baseless, they are from long, long ago, they are uncorroborated.”
The matter is scheduled to be heard on July 29.
In June, after a New York judge’s ruling, Weinstein was extradited to face sexual assault charges in Los Angeles.
Since October 2017, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, following which he was dismissed from Miramax, the production company he had co-founded with his brother Bob Weinstein, and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.
Weinstein’s conviction came as a victory for the #MeToo movement that witnessed women across the globe coming out with allegations of sexual misconduct and assault at their respective workplaces against powerful men.
After nearly two years of allegations of serial sexual harassments, in February 2020, Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault.
Following a trial in the Manhattan Supreme Court, he was sentenced to 23 years of imprisonment for mainly two cases: a first-degree criminal sexual act when he forcibly performed oral sex on production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006, and the other for committing third-degree rape where he attacked aspiring actor Jessica Mann in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013.
He has been kept in the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, NY since Spring 2020 under maximum security.
Meanwhile, he was charged with several cases in California in 2020 for crimes in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills from 2004 to 2013, and he was formally indicted on April 11, 2021.
On April 12, the Los Angeles district attorney’s office sought Weinstein’s extradition for trial on 11 charges, involving five unnamed women.
After Weinstein and his legal team delayed and challenged his extradition multiple times since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and citing health problems, the Erie County, New York, Court Judge Kenneth Case finally rejected their arguments on June 15 and ordered his extradition.
If convicted of these charges, Weinstein could face a maximum of 140 years of imprisonment.