Disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein was indicted in a third sex crime on Monday and faces an enhanced sentence of up to life in prison after being charged by a Manhattan grand jury with predatory sexual assault.
The new indictment alleges Weinstein committed a first-degree criminal sexual act by performing oral sex on an unnamed woman through “forcible compulsion” in 2006. Last month, he faced the same charge after he allegedly made a young actress engage in oral sex in 2004. He was also charged with two counts of rape in connection with nonconsensual intercourse with a woman in 2013.
The previous charges carried a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, but two new counts of predatory sexual act, which requires proof of a sexual assault and an underlying pattern of sexual misconduct, carry a minimum sentence of 10 years if convicted and could result in a life sentence.
“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,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
Producer Weinstein, 66, lost his seat atop the movie industry after multiple accusations of sexual misconduct from actresses, including film star Ashley Judd, were first published last fall. He was exiled from The Weinstein Company, which later collapsed, and faces multiple civil suits.
The accusations against him are credited with setting the #MeToo movement in motion, with a cascade of similar charges against other rich and famous men. He has denied ever engaging in nonconsensual sex, and was released on $1 million bail after pleading not guilty in June.
In response to the new charges, defense lawyer Ben Brafman said in a statement that Weinstein would again plead not guilty.
“Mr. Weinstein maintains that all of these allegations are false and he expects to be fully vindicated,” Brafman said. “Furthermore, to charge Mr. Weinstein as a Predator when the interactions were each consensual is simply not justified.”
Weinstein’s arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court on the new indictment was scheduled for July 9.