Ending disgraced Hollywood producer and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein's lengthy fight to delay his extradition, the New York prison officials have handed him over to California, where he will face sexual assault charges.
The 69-year-old faces 11 counts of sexual assault in California, accused by five women. He is already serving a 23-year-old jail sentence for similar crimes.
Appearing before the court on 21 July, Weinstein pleaded not guilty.
"They are baseless, they are from long, long ago, they are uncorroborated," Mark Werksman, one of his lawyers, said after the hearing, reported the BBC.
Weinstein's extradition to California was approved in June. However, his lawyers argued that he should stay in New York prision while he received treatment for health problems including loss of eyesight, news agency PTI reported.
Weinstein's conviction in New York came in 2020, after a prolonged battle since 2017, marking a landmark event in the #MeToo movement.
Counted among the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, Weinstein was convicted on two counts – criminal sex act for the 2006 assault on a production assistant and rape in the third degree for the 2013 attack on another woman.
In January 2020, Weinstein was charged with 11 sexual assault counts in California involving five women – with allegations from Los Angeles and Beverly Hills from 2004 to 2013.
He has been accused of rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint, and sexual penetration by use of force, among other things.
“The opportunity to hold Weinstein accountable for his actions in California gives voice to the survivors, including my client, Jane Doe 4,” attorney Elizabeth Fegan said in a statement. “They deserve to be heard and to have Weinstein answer for his actions. Our hope is that a guilty verdict in California will ensure that Harvey Weinstein will spend the rest of his life behind bars – securing justice for women everywhere,” lawyers of one of Weinstein's accusers told PTI.
(With inputs from PTI, BBC)