Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was charged with rape and a sex crime in New York on Friday, posting a $1mn cash bail nearly eight months after his career imploded under bombshell accusations that triggered the #MeToo movement.The former mogul -- once the toast of Hollywood and whose films won scores of Oscars -- grinned as he was escorted into a Manhattan court in handcuffs to face the first criminal charges posted against him.
Standing alongside his defense attorney, Weinstein looked glum during a brief arraignment, agreeing to post bail at $1mn cash, surrender his passport and be fitted with a GPS monitoring device.
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office said he was charged with rape in the first and third degrees, stemming from an attack on a woman in 2013, and a criminal sex act against another woman in 2004. Neither victim was named.
"Today's charges reflect significant progress in this active, ongoing investigation," said District Attorney Cyrus Vance, thanking "brave survivors" for coming forward and urging others to call a sex crimes hotline.
They are the first criminal charges against the twice-married, shamed former titan, who already faces a slew of civil lawsuits, is reportedly under federal investigation and whose former studio has filed for bankruptcy.
Defense attorney Ben Brafman told reporters that Weinstein would plead not guilty and that his client denied any non-consensual sexual activity.
"We intend to move very quickly to dismiss these charges," Brafman said. "Bad behavior is not on trial," he added. "Mr Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood."
The 66-year-old former studio boss surrendered to police shortly before 7:30 am wearing a white shirt, pale blue sweater and dark blazer, dozens of television cameras and photographers mobbing the street outside.
He stepped out of a black SUV and walked into the station, clutching several books, among them what appeared to be the Rodgers and Hammerstein biography Something Wonderful and a book on late director Elia Kazan.
New York police said he was "arrested, processed and charged with rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct."
After having his mugshots and fingerprints taken, he was escorted out in handcuffs, again grinning, and driven to court in the back of a smart SUV.
Out on bail, Weinstein's travel will be restricted to New York and the neighbouring state of Connecticut, and he agreed to surrender his passport. The case has been adjourned until July 30.
The district attorney and police have been investigating Weinstein for months, under growing pressure from Hollywood actresses to bring the disgraced producer to justice.
Weinstein's career went down in flames in October over sexual assault allegations following explosive articles in The New York Times and New Yorker, which sparked a sexual harassment watershed across the United States.
Nearly 100 women have since accused Weinstein of crimes ranging from sexual harassment to assault and rape going back 40 years.
Salma Hayek, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie are among more than two dozen actresses who say they were sexually harassed by the producer. A few, including Asia Argento and Rose McGowan, said they were raped.