Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to rape, sex-related charges

More than 70 women have accused the Miramax film studio's co-founder of sexual misconduct, including rape, in a series of incidents dating back decades. He has steadfastly denied all accusations of non-consensual sex. Seated between his attorneys, he said clearly in a low voice: "Not guilty". He also replied "Yes" several times as the judge reiterated the conditions of his monitored release.

The 66-year-old Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex, with Brafman challenging the credibility of his alleged victims. Defence attorney Benjamin Brafman confirmed that his client had pleaded not guilty.

"As awful a crime as rape is, it is equally reprehensible to be falsely accused", he said. "We begin our fight now".

After Weinstein was charged on May 25, Mr Brafman said in a statement outside the Manhattan court: "We intend to move very quickly to dismiss these charges".

He added, "I can't control what the tabloids write, I can't control what an ex-associate does and I can't control what's filed in the Southern District of NY".

They include Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek and Gwyneth Paltrow. A few, including Asia Argento and Rose McGowan, say they were raped.

The accusations, first reported by the New York Times and the New Yorker past year, gave rise to the #MeToo movement, in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of misconduct. Comedian Bill Cosby in April was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting a onetime friend, one of dozens of women who have accused the comedian and former TV star of sexual misconduct. He will be sentenced later this year.

The former Hollywood mega-producer appeared in New York Supreme Court on Tuesday.

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Once a fixture of elite Manhattan and Los Angeles society, Weinstein has been ostracised since the accusations became public. His fashion designer wife, Georgina Chapman, has left him.

His bail was previously set at $1 million, allowing him to remain free while he awaits trial. The device monitors his location 24 hours a day, and restricts him to only travel in NY state and CT.

He faces additional investigations in Los Angeles, London, and by the USA federal government.

He is also under criminal investigation in London and Los Angeles, but the criminal charges in NY were the first to be lodged. Though there have been multiple allegations against Weinstein, he was indicted by a grand jury for assaults against two women: Lucia Evans and an unnamed woman.

The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assaults unless they come forward publicly.

"It is hard to predict the outcome", said Columbia University law professor Suzanne Goldberg.

The women's accounts helped launch the #MeToo movement, with other women stepping forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse from men across industries.

"Even the best lawyer - and Brafman is one of the best - can't work magic".

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