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Exposés in both the Times and the New Yorker revealed allegations from women who said they had been propositioned, harassed, assaulted or raped by Weinstein, who allegedly used his powerful role in Hollywood to prey on women within the industry.

Once one of the most powerful men in the film industry, Weinstein had always been rumored to have engaged in sexual misconduct - but it was not until reports in The New York Times and The New Yorker surfaced decades' worth of sexual assault and harassment allegations that the producer experienced his precipitate fall from grace last autumn. He was arraigned on rape, criminal sex act and other sex charges from his encounters with two women.

"I anticipate the women who made these allegations, when subjected to cross examination, in the event we even get that far, that the charges will not be believed by 12 people", Braffman said.

He was due to appear later in the day for arraignment at a Manhattan courthouse where a judge is expected to release him on bail, according to media reports. Weinstein will also be required to wear a monitoring device so police can track his location.

The 66-year-old former studio boss walked into the downtown Manhattan police station shortly before 1130 GMT (7:30 am local time) wearing a white shirt, pale blue sweater and dark blazer before a mob of television cameras and photographers. He was led to the court with handcuffs. That makes these first criminal charges against Weinstein possible.

Mr Brafman, one of the most experienced and aggressive trial lawyers in NY, said he meant to cross-examine the women who had accused Weinstein and that a 12-person jury would find him not guilty - if a "fair-minded" jury could be assembled.

"It's a very significant moment, it's a concrete slap in the face of abuse of power", she said.

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"The NYPD thanks these courageous survivors for their courage to come forward and seek justice", the New York Police Department said in a statement.

Still, photographers caught most of Weinstein's surrender.

If convicted, Weinstein could spend up to 25 years in prison.

He's accused of forcing then-aspiring actress Lucia Evans to perform oral sex in 2004 and twice raping Boardwalk Empire actress Paz de la Huerta in 2010.

Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

Lawyers did not identify the woman involved in the rape charge.

Asia Argento, one of the first actresses to come forward and accuse the producer of rape in an explosive New Yorker feature penned by Ronan Farrow last fall, tweeted, "What took you so long, Harvey?"