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Harvey Weinstein charged with rape, sex abuse and other crimes

New York police say charges relate to allegations made by two women in a sex abuse probe involving the movie producer.

Harvey Weinstein

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been charged in the US with rape, sex abuse and other crimes against two women.

Weinstein, the founder of Miramax film studio, arrived in handcuffs at a New York City courthouse on Friday to face the accusations.

The case marks the first criminal charges against the Hollywood mogul after months of sexual abuse allegations from scores of women, which destroyed his career and catalysed the #MeToo movement - a public reckoning about sexual misconduct. 

Speaking in court, Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, a Manhattan assistant attorney, said Weinstein used "his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually".

Weinstein flinched as he heard the description. He appeared pale, standing next to his lawyer Ben Brafman, while prosecutors described a bail arrangement.

Judge Kevin McGrath released Weinstein on $1m bail, with constant electronic monitoring and a ban on traveling beyond New York and the neighbouring state of Connecticut.

'Not guilty'

Brafman, Weinstein's lawyer, told reporters outside the court that his client will enter a plea of "not guilty" to the charges.

"We intend 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," Brafman said. 

Weinstein has consistently denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.

In a statement earlier in the day, he New York Police Department said Weinstein was "arrested, processed and charged with rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women".

The statement did not identify the two women. 

The Reuters news agency said the rape charge relates to a woman who was not identified.

A court complaint said Weinstein raped her in a Manhattan hotel in 2013.

According to the New York Times, the criminal sex charge stems from a complaint filed by Lucia Evans, an aspiring actress, who said Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him at his office in 2004.

'I don't want to do this'

Evans was among the first women to speak out about the producer. 

She 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."

Evans, who is now a marketing consultant, did not report the incident to police at the time. 

More than 70 women have accused Hollywood mogul of sexual misconduct, including rape, with some allegations dating back decades.

They include Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The outpouring saw people around the world come forward with cases of sexual mistreatment, leading to resignations and sackings of powerful men across industries. 

They include TV hosts Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, comedian Louis CK, Democratic Senator Al Franken, chef Mario Batali, casino magnate Steve Wynn and, most recently, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Women worldwide have also taken to social media, using #MeToo to share their own stories of being sexually assaulted or harassed in the workplace. 

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