A grand jury in Manhattan indicted Harvey Weinstein on rape and criminal sex act charges Wednesday following his arrest last week by the New York Police Department. Weinstein did not testify at the proceedings, saying he did not have enough time to prepare and expected the jury to indict him due to “political pressure.” His lawyer said he would try to get the indictment dismissed.
Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, on Tuesday described one of the former movie producer’s accusers as “someone with whom he has had a 10-year, consensual, sexual relationship, both before the alleged incident and after the alleged incident.” He did say the woman was not Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman, who filed for divorce last fall.
Weinstein’s downfall has had wide-ranging ripple effects in Hollywood. Actor Morgan Freeman defended himself this week against accusations of impropriety with a statement that included an implied allusion to Weinstein’s case: “It is not right to equate horrific incidents of sexual assault with misplaced compliments or humor.” Last week, CNN published an article accusing Freeman of trying to lift the skirt of a woman working on set with him and of making inappropriate sexual comments to women who worked with or interviewed him.
Freeman’s attorney, Robert Schwartz, wrote a letter to the president of CNN, arguing that reporter Chloe Melas had a false understanding of her own interaction with Freeman and committed “journalistic malpractice,” according to NBC News. Schwartz also asked CNN to retract the parts of the article that discussed Freeman’s business partner, Lori McCreary. While defending himself last week, Freeman apologized for any unintentional offenses.
A CNN spokesman called Schwartz’s comments “unfounded accusations” that are “difficult to reconcile with Mr. Freeman’s own public statements in the aftermath of the story.” —Anna Bailey