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Weinstein will face trial over two charges of rape

By Joe Nerssessian and PA

Harvey Weinstein is to face trial after being charged with rape.

The disgraced film producer, in his first public appearance since October, spoke only to confirm he understood the charges, which involve two women.

Yesterday morning, Weinstein had turned himself over to police in New York to face the charges.

It is the first time he has faced criminal charges since an avalanche of accusations - including from some of Hollywood's biggest stars - emerged last year, sparking the international MeToo and Time's Up movements.

Wearing a black suit, white shirt and blue jumper and appearing to stumble slightly, he clutched two books, Something Wonderful: Rodgers And Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution, by Todd S Purdum, and Richard Schickel's biography of producer, director and writer Elia Kazan.

Around 90 minutes later, he left the NYPD's First Precinct handcuffed and smiling as he was escorted to Manhattan Criminal Court. He was charged with two counts of rape - one in the first degree and another in the third degree - and one count of a criminal sexual act for alleged incidents involving two separate women.

Weinstein has repeatedly denied any allegations of non-consensual sex and intends to plead not guilty, his lawyer Benjamin Brafman said outside court. Inside, the former Hollywood mogul raised his eyebrows as Manhattan Assistant Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said: "This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually."

Weinstein posted a million dollar (£751,060) cash bail and will wear an electronic monitor which tracks his movements 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The 66-year-old also surrendered his passport and agreed to stay within the states of New York and Connecticut.

After the hearing, Brafman took a swipe at the MeToo and Time's Up movements as he pledged 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 and we believe that by the end of the process, Mr Weinstein will be exonerated." He said Weinstein is doing "as well as can be expected when you are accused of a crime that you vehemently deny having committed".

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr praised the "brave survivors who have come forward" as he urged people with relevant information to come forward. Weinstein is also facing criminal investigations in Los Angeles and London.

The Oscar-winning producer and his brother Bob Weinstein founded production company Miramax in 1979, building it into a major Hollywood player before selling it to Disney in 1993. They set up the Weinstein Company in 2005, which spawned hits including The King's Speech, Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook.

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