“A Grand Jury has voted to indict Harvey Weinstein on charges of Rape in the First and Third Degrees, and Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said Wednesday afternoon in a press release.
The charges match the ones filed in a criminal complaint last Friday by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office after Weinstein surrendered himself to the NYPD last week. The charges are for alleged assaults against two women that occurred in 2013 and 2014.
Weinstein, 66, could find himself behind bars for up to 25 years if found guilty.
“This indictment brings the defendant another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged,” Vance said in a statement. “Our office will try this case not in the press, but in the courtroom where it belongs. The defendant’s recent assault on the integrity of the survivors and the legal process is predictable. We are confident that when the jury hears the evidence, it will reject these attacks out of hand.”
Vance's remarks about not trying the media in the press is clearly directed at Weinstein's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, who has been complaining to the media the past few days that Weinstein was being denied vital case information and therefore wouldn't get a fair trial amid media scrutiny. Brafman also tried to undermine the case by stating that one of the women cited in the charges was someone Weinstein had a "consensual sexual relationship" with for five years before and several years after the alleged rape. Brafman also alluded to "unfair political pressure being placed on Cy Vance to secure a conviction of Mr. Weinstein."
Following the indictment, Brafman's feathers appeared unruffled.
“We remind everyone that an Indictment is merely a formal accusation,” Brafman said Wednesday. “Mr Weinstein intends to enter a plea of Not Guilty and vigorously defend against these unsupported allegations that he strongly denies. We will soon formally move to dismiss the indictment and if this case actually proceeds to trial, we expect Mr Weinstein to be acquitted.”1comments
In addition to his charges in New York being investigated by federal prosecutors, the Manhattan D.A. and the NYPD, Weinstein is also being probed by the LAPD, which sent three cases to the L.A. County D.A. on Feb. 8. UK police also continue their own investigation.
There are also nearly a dozen lawsuits filed in the courts against Weinstein from some of the 80 women who have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual assault and more.