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‘We got you’: Harvey Weinstein leaves in handcuffs charged with rape, sex abuse

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Harvey Weinstein has surrendered to New York City police on charges of rape and sex abuse, months after he was toppled from Hollywood's most powerful ranks by scores of women accusing him of misconduct.

Key points:

  • The charges follow a months-long investigation that involved the Manhattan district attorney's office
  • The alleged victim in the rape case has not been identified
  • Weinstein, 66, has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone

"You sorry, Harvey?" came a shout from a throng of media as the once powerful movie mogul walked into a lower Manhattan courthouse, his head bowed with the cuffs behind his back.

Asked, "What can you say?" he mildly shook his head and softly said "No".

It marked the first criminal case against Weinstein, coming seven months after the allegations destroyed his career and set off a national reckoning over sexual misconduct known as the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein, 66, has been charged with rape, sexual misconduct, sex abuse and the committing of a criminal sex act against two women, the New York Police Department said in a statement, which did not identify the women.

"This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually," prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said at Weinstein's arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Judge Kevin McGrath ordered Weinstein released on $US1 million ($1.3 million) cash bail. The fallen mogul surrendered his passport and agreed to wear a monitoring device that tracks his location.

Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone, and his lawyer Benjamin Brafman said he intended to plead not guilty.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at the 1st Precinct in Manhattan.

'We got you Harvey Weinstein, we got you'

More than 70 women have accused the co-founder of the Miramax film studio and Weinstein Co of sexual misconduct, including rape, with some allegations dating back decades.

Many of his accuses celebrated Weinstein's arrest with Tweets and posts.

"Today is our day," tweeted actress Rose McGowan who detailed her account of rape at the hands of Weinstein in a her memoir titled Brave.

"I hope this gives hope to victims and survivors everywhere, that we are one step closer to justice," she told reporters. "Because one win is a win for all of us."

External Link: We got you, Harvey Weinstein, we got you External Link: Thank you Lucia Evans and Paz de la Huerta and all of us who said no more .@MiraSorvino Today is our day

Louise Godbold — who accused Weinstein in two incidents of harassment in the 1990s — said alleged victims she's in touch with feel "elated" at his surrender and arrest, but predicted he will now, "play hard and dirty".

"We know that he has high-powered lawyers, that he's not above employing very dubious methods to extract information ," she said.

"I think it's going to get dirty."

External Link: Woke up in Paris to find my phone exploding with this news. This belongs to every brave woman who spoke up, but especially to the very first.

"Just the idea of him getting out of a police car with handcuffs is very satisfying because it makes it concrete," added the 55-year-old, who runs a trauma-training NGO in Los Angeles.

"Now comes the tough part."

Hollyoaks soap opera star Lysette Anthony, who has accused Weinstein of rape, tweeted, "And so it begins #JusticeForAll".

Actress Mira Sorvinol, who has accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, tweeted she was "proud of and grateful to" to all the women who came forward and "stood up against a monster".

External Link: Sending love to all my sisters today who stood up against a monster… so many emotions… I am proud of and grateful to you all.

"BOOM", tweeted Italian actress Asia Argento.

"Harvey Weinstein ain't smiling now," she wrote in another tweet.

External Link: Today Harvey Weinstein will take his first step on his inevitable descent to hell. We, the women, finally have real hope for justice.

Argento condemned Weinstein at the Cannes Film festival earlier this week.

External Link: This is the speech I wrote and spoke out loud tonight at Cannes. For all the brave women who came forward denouncing their predators, and for all the brave women who will come forward in the future.

Actress Lauren Sivan warned: "No one ever underestimate the power of women when we stand together."

External Link: It's been a long time coming and today my fellow victims and I rejoice and pray no one ever underestimates the power of women when we stand together + scream the truth

Charges follow months-long investigation

Weinstein gave a weak smile as he arrived at the police station earlier this morning (local time) to surrender, wearing a dark jacket over a blue sweater and white open-collared shirt and dark jeans.

He carried thick books under his right arm, including what appeared to be biographies of the Broadway musical duo of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and Elia Kazan, the director of such classic Hollywood films as On the Waterfront and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Police officers escorted Weinstein inside the lower Manhattan police station as scores of journalists pushed up against barricades for pictures and video, while three helicopters hovered overhead.

Weinstein's spokesman Juda Engelmayer and Mr Brafman both earlier declined to comment on the charges.

The charges follow a months-long investigation that involved the Manhattan district attorney's office.

The victim in the rape case has not been identified, the Times reported, but Weinstein will be charged with first-degree and third-degree rape.

The other case involves allegations by Lucia Evans, a former aspiring actress who told The New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to give him oral sex in 2004, the Times reported.

Evans confirmed to The New Yorker that she was pressing charges.

"At a certain point, you have to think about the greater good of humanity, of womankind," she told the magazine.

New York City police detectives said in early November that they were investigating allegations by another accuser, Boardwalk Empire actress Paz de la Huerta, who told police in October that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010.

She is not one of the victims in the case on Friday; hers was still pending, officials said.

Entertainment industry heavyweights have distanced themselves from Weinstein since the accusations became public.

The board of the Weinstein Co fired him and the company filed for bankruptcy in March.

AP/Reuters

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