Disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein was charged in Manhattan Friday with felony rape and criminal sex act connected to cases involving two separate women, capping a months-long saga that saw dozens come forward with accusations that spanned four decades and three continents.
Weinstein voluntarily surrendered at the First Precinct, then was led to a police SUV 90 minutes later handcuffed and smiling. He appeared in court stonefaced a short time thereafter, wearing the same black blazer and light blue sweater, as a prosecutor accused him of using his "position, money and power to lure adult women" into situations where he allegedly committed forcible sex attacks.
Neither prosecutors nor police identified the two women at the center of the Weinstein complaint, but several sources familiar with the investigation told News 4 the rape charges stem from a complaint from a woman previously not named publicly. Sources told News 4 the criminal sex act charge stems from public allegations made by actress Lucia Evans.
According to the criminal complaint revealed Friday, a woman reported Weinstein kept held her in a Lexington Avenue hotel room against her will on March 18, 2013, and raped her. "At the time of the incident, informant had clearly expressed her lack of consent to the act," the complaint says.
The second accusation in the complaint is nearly a decade older; in that case, a different woman who News 4 reported to be Evans told authorities Weinstein grabbed her head and forced her to give him oral sex in a Greenwich Street home on one occasion between June and September of 2004.
Weinstein faces charges of first- and third-degree rape, along with first-degree criminal sexual act; all three are class B felonies. If convicted, he faces a maximum 25 years in prison on each of the two first-degree counts. He intends to enter a not guilty plea to all charges, his attorney said.
The ex-film executive posted $10 million bond and was released from custody pending his next court appearance. He must wear an ankle monitor, surrender his passport and restrict his travel to New York City and Connecticut. Should he need to travel outside those states, he will require court and prosecutorial approval. The prosecutor also requested an order of protection against a woman whose name will be kept sealed.
Weinstein said nothing to reporters as he got into a waiting SUV and drove off. Attorney Benjamin Brafman said outside court he and his client would move quickly to have charges dismissed. Brafman said he finds the charges to be constitutionally flawed and not factually supported by evidence, and he said he's confident that "at the end of this process, Mr. Weinstein will be exonerated."
Weinstein has said repeatedly through his lawyers over the course of the seven-month probe that he never had nonconsensual sex with anyone -- and Brafman reiterated that assertion on Friday after court.
"Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that he has never engaged in nonconsensual sexual behavior with anyone. Nothing about today's proceedings changes Mr. Weinstein's position," Brafman said.
"Bad behavior is not on trial in this case," Brafman added. "It's only if you committed a criminal act and Mr. Weinstein vigorously denies that in this case."
He said he'll decide by next week if Weinstein will testify before a grand jury should one be seated.
As for how Weinstein is doing, Brafman said, "As well as can be expected when you're accused of a crime that you have vehemently denied having committed."
Earlier Friday, News 4 captured clear cellphone video of cops and law enforcement officials surrounding a black SUV as Weinstein stepped slowly out of the back right passenger side and into the media swarm.
Holding two books -- "Elia Kazan: A Biography"and "Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution" in his right hand, Weinstein walked quickly into Manhattan's First Precinct along with several attorneys as crowds, including some of his accusers, lined the street.
The case marks the first criminal charge against the film producer since scores of women began coming forward to accuse him of harassment or assault, triggering a cascade of accusations against media and entertainment figures that has become known as the #MeToo movement.
"Today’s charges reflect significant progress in this active, ongoing investigation,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement. "I thank the brave survivors who have come forward, and my Office’s prosecutors who have worked tirelessly on this investigation."
Any additional complainants are asked to call Vance's office at 212-335-9373.
Evans told The New Yorker in a story published in October that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex during a daytime meeting at his New York office in 2004, the summer before her senior year at Middlebury College.
"I said, over and over, 'I don't want to do this, stop, don't,' " she told the magazine. "I tried to get away, but maybe I didn't try hard enough. I didn't want to kick him or fight him."
She didn't report the incident to police at the time, telling The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow that she blamed herself for not fighting back.
"It was always my fault for not stopping him," she said.
After court Friday, Evans' attorney Carrie Goldberg said, "we are relieved and grateful that justice is coming, but we also mourn the cases where it didn't."
Weinstein's accusers included some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Film actress Rose McGowan said Weinstein raped her in 1997 in Utah. "Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra said he raped her in her New York apartment in 1992. Norwegian actress Natassia Malthe said he attacked her in a London hotel room in 2008. Another aspiring actress, Mimi Haleyi, said Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in his New York apartment in 2006.
Another of Weinstein's accusers, Dominique Huett, told NBC News, "this was a very systematic pattern of abuse which was rarely considered a crime by a culture in the entertainment business that continually perpetuated it."
"This is a step in the right direction for abuse to be taken seriously and progress be made to abolish abuses of power," Huett said Thursday upon news of the looming surrender. "It feels as if justice has begun to be served."
Vance has come under enormous public pressure in recent months to make a criminal case. Some women's groups, including the Hollywood activist group Time's Up, accused the Democrat of being too deferential to Weinstein and too dismissive of his accusers.
In March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo took the extraordinary step of ordering the state's attorney general to investigate whether Vance acted properly in 2015 when he decided not to prosecute Weinstein over a previous allegation of unwanted groping, made by an Italian model.
Vance had insisted any decision would be based on the strength of the evidence, not on political considerations.
Weinstein was fired from the company he co-founded and expelled from the organization that bestows the Academy Awards last fall.