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Harvey Weinstein indicted on new sexual assault charges, could face life in prison

Harvey Weinstein listens during a court proceeding in New York on May 25. (Steven Hirsch/New York Post/AP)

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein faces additional counts of sexual assault that could carry a potential life sentence if he is convicted, prosecutors announced Monday.

A Manhattan grand jury voted to charge Weinstein with two counts of predatory assault, which carry a minimum 10-year sentence, and an additional count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, stemming from what prosecutors said was a forcible sexual act against a woman in 2006.

The new charges are in addition to three other counts Weinstein was charged with in May that stemmed from encounters with a woman in 2004 and another woman in 2013.

“A Manhattan grand jury has now indicted Harvey Weinstein on some of the most serious sexual offenses that exist under New York’s penal law,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement. “This indictment is the result of the extraordinary courage exhibited by the survivors who have come forward.”

Violence. Threats. Begging. Harvey Weinstein’s 30-year pattern of abuse in Hollywood.

In all, Weinstein faces six charges, including rape in the first and third degrees.

The investigation is ongoing, Vance said. “If you are a survivor of the predatory abuse with which Mr. Weinstein is charged, there is still time to pursue justice,” he said.

Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on a woman in July 2006, according to the new indictment. And, according to a criminal complaint, a New York City detective said that in 2004, Weinstein forced a woman to engage in oral sex with him, and in 2013, Weinstein kept a woman in a room against her will, “engaged in sexual intercourse” by force and that she “clearly expressed her lack of consent.”

Weinstein, who has long denied accusations of criminal wrongdoing, pleaded not guilty last month to the previous charges and was released on $1 million bail. His attorney, Ben Brafman, said that his client will plead not guilty to these new charges. “Mr Weinstein maintains that all of these allegations are false and he expects to be fully vindicated,” Brafman said in a statement Monday. “Furthermore to charge Mr Weinstein as a Predator when the interactions were each consensual is simply not justified.”

Law enforcement officials have not publicly identified any of the three women. But Lucia Evans, a marketing consultant and former aspiring actress, previously went public with the accusation that Weinstein had forced her to perform oral sex on him in Miramax’s Tribeca office. In May, she told the New Yorker that she was pressing charges against him.

“At a certain point, you have to think about the greater good of humanity, of womankind,” Evans told the New Yorker.

Since Pulitzer Prize-winning reports from the New York Times and the New Yorker in October 2017 detailed accusations against Weinstein by several women, scores more have come forward with similar tales of intimidation, harassment and assault.

The accusations against Weinstein, a once-powerful figure in Hollywood, ended his career and sparked a broader reckoning across  several industries.

Several men in the entertainment and media industries have since been publicly accused of a range of sexual misconduct and retreated from the public eye. Few have faced criminal prosecution. Bill Cosby, convicted on three counts of sexual assault, stands as a notable exception.

Vance previously came under fire for his office’s handling of a 2015 case against Weinstein involving model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. In October 2017, the New Yorker detailed her allegations and published audio obtained during a 2015 police sting in which Weinstein reportedly admits to groping Gutierrez as he begs her to go into his hotel room.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D), citing “questions about the handling” of the case, directed the state’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, to review it. (Schneiderman has since resigned after four women accused him of assault.)

Vance, reelected to a third term last year, called the governor-ordered review “an unwarranted intrusion.”

An arraignment on the new indictment is scheduled for July 9.

This is the story of how Hollywood's unique power structure enabled sexual harassment to remain the entertainment industry's open secret. (Video: Nicki DeMarco, Erin Patrick O'Connor/The Washington Post, Photo: Sarah Hashemi/The Washington Post)

This post has been updated.