Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to a new indictment filed by New York prosecutors, pushing his trial on sexual assault allegations to early next year.
A grand jury on Monday returned the indictment that adds two additional charges of predatory sexual assault against the 67-year-old. The move will allow accuser Annabella Sciorra, an actress best known for appearing in “The Sopranos,” to allege in court that Weinstein raped her at her Manhattan apartment in the winter of 1993-1994, bolstering the case against the former Miramax executive.
Weinstein’s trial, previously scheduled for Sept. 9, has been pushed back to Jan. 6.
Under state law, Sciorra’s specific accusation is too old to be prosecuted independently. But prosecutors say her testimony on the stand can be used to support predatory sexual assault charges that carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. In order to secure a conviction on such a charge, the prosecution team must prove that Weinstein committed sexual assaults against two or more people.
The team already had their minimum of two people: former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and another woman who has remained anonymous. Their accusations center on alleged instances of sexual assault occurring in July 2006 and March 2013, respectively.
The decision to ask the grand jury to consider a new indictment so close to the originally proposed trial date was considered highly unusual ― possibly an ominous sign for the prosecution.
In documents released Monday, the state noted that three additional women will also testify against Weinstein about alleged sexual assaults. Although there are no charges attached to their accusations, their words will be used to establish a pattern of criminal conduct similar to the strategy successfully used by attorneys against comedian Bill Cosby.
Weinstein had already been facing five felony charges, two of which carry a maximum sentence of life behind bars. Prosecutors wish to combine the new indictment with the previous one.
Sciorra’s story is not new. In 2017, she told The New Yorker that Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s, when she was filming a movie backed by his company Miramax called “The Night We Never Met” and he offered to drive her home.
“Harvey had dropped me off before, so I didn’t really expect anything out of the ordinary ― I expected just to be dropped off,” she said.
Although she made it upstairs to her apartment without incident, Sciorra said it wasn’t long before she heard a knock at the door. Weinstein pushed his way in, she told the magazine, and immediately began unbuttoning his shirt.
“This is not happening,” she reportedly told him. “You’ve got to go. You have to leave. Get out of my apartment.”
Roughly 70 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct spanning several decades. He has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
This story has been updated with additional detail about the new indictment.