Weinstein won't testify before NY grand jury: lawyer

New York (AFP) –


Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, fighting rape and sex crime charges in New York, will not testify before a Manhattan grand jury, his lawyer confirmed Wednesday, accusing prosecutors of acting under political pressure.

"Mr Weinstein intends to follow the advice of his attorneys and not testify before the grand jury," his defense team said in a statement.

Lead defense attorney Ben Brafman complained there had not been "sufficient time" to "properly prepare" his client given that the charges were laid out in detail last Friday, the eve of a bank holiday weekend.

A request to postpone Weinstein's appearance before the grand jury -- which had been scheduled for Wednesday at 2pm -- was denied, Brafman added.

Weinstein was charged with rape and a sex crime in New York last Friday, in what was hailed a landmark for the #MeToo movement, nearly eight months after his career imploded in a blaze of accusations of misconduct.

The 66-year-old twice-married father of five, 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.

His lawyer says the rape allegation involves a woman with whom Weinstein "shared a 10-year consensual sexual relationship that continued for years" after the alleged 2013 incident.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who was criticized for failing to prosecute Weinstein in a separate case three years ago, unveiled the charges.

"Regardless of how compelling Mr Weinstein's personal testimony might be, an indictment was inevitable due to the unfair political pressure being placed on Cy Vance to secure a conviction," Brafman's statement complained Wednesday.

The former Tinseltown powerbroker posted bail at $1 million cash, surrendered his passport and has been fitted with a GPS monitoring device.

His 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 reckoning across the United States, in multiple industries.