Harvey Weinstein was indicted in Los Angeles on sexual assault charges, according to one of his lawyers.
The former producer also appeared in a New York court proceeding over whether or not to extradite him. He video called into the hearing from the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case.
Weinstein is appealing his conviction in Manhattan from February 2020 and a 23-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping former aspiring actress Jessica Mann.
The criminal case against Weinstein in California covers alleged attacks on five women from 2004 to 2013 in the Los Angeles area. The case includes four counts of forcible rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint, and one count of sexual penetration by use of force.
Norman Effman, a public defender representing Weinstein, asked that his client be arraigned on the indictment virtually in New York rather than extradited so he could get necessary medical treatment, including scheduled eye and dental surgery.
“We’re not trying to avoid what is going to happen in California,” Effman said. “We believe there is not only a defense to these charges, but a very good defense to these charges.”
Los Angeles’ district attorney began the process of Weinstein’s extradition last July, but it was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Another hearing is scheduled for April 30.
Even if his conviction in New York is overturned, Weinstein could still spend the rest of his life in prison if he is convicted in California.
Weinstein denied all counts of non-consensual sex.
“These are stale, unsubstantiated, uncorroborated, uncredible allegations that arose during the hysteria of the #MeToo movement,” Weinstein’s criminal defense lawyer Mark Werksman said in a statement. “We’re confident that Mr. Weinstein will be acquitted because there’s no credible evidence against him. He’s innocent.”
The cases against Weinstein and the convictions he has faced have been monumental steps for the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment.
In January, a bankruptcy judge approved Weinstein Company’s liquidation plan that allocated $17 million to Weinstein‘s sexual assault and harassment victims. This allowed his victims to receive some compensation without facing a possibly traumatic court hearing.