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It was the first time he has been since in public since the mountain of allegations from dozens of women - including some of Hollywood's biggest stars - were first reported a year ago.

Harvey Weinstein turned himself in to police Friday morning to face the first criminal charges to be filed against him after months of sexual abuse allegations from scores of women that destroyed his career and set off a national reckoning known as the #MeToo movement.

Ben Brafman, Weinstein´s powerful defense attorney, has declined to comment on his client´s planned surrender. Weinstein pleaded not guilty, and maintains that he "has never engaged in non-consensual sexual behavior with anyone", his lawyer said in a statement Friday.

The charges followed a months-long investigation that involved the Manhattan district attorney's office. Weinstein was arrested by the New York City police department shortly thereafter and taken to court.

Yet it was a 2004 meeting with actress Lucia Evans that stands at the center of the allegations Weinstein now faces in NY.

Allegations against Weinstein, long whispered in the industry, first came to public light in October, when a New York Times story reported that he had sexually harassed female assistants, executives and actresses for decades, settling legal complaints made by at least eight women.

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein arrived earlier in the day to surrender to the NY police on charges of rape and sexual assault.

On Friday, Weinstein handed off the books at the police station, where he was booked quickly.

Equally important, McGowan said, is that the MeToo movement will help women who aren't famous, well-off movie stars, like many of Weinstein's accusers, but less powerful women without a voice.

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A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that the criminal sex act charge stems from a 2004 encounter between Weinstein and Lucia Evans, a then-aspiring actress who has said the Hollywood mogul forced her to perform oral sex on him in his office. She says Weinstein made unwanted advances toward her on two occasions in 1991, in NY and Los Angeles.

"We are one step closer to justice", McGowan was quoted as saying by Variety.

It is the first time Weinstein has faced criminal charges since an avalanche of accusations - including from some of Hollywood's biggest stars - first emerged a year ago, sparking the global MeToo and Time's Up movements.

As part of a bail package negotiated in advance, he will put up $1 million in cash and will agree to wear a monitoring device.

Evans was among the first women to speak out about the 66-year-old film producer.

"I said, over and over, 'I don't want to do this, stop, don't, ' " she told the magazine. Al Franken, chef Mario Batali, casino magnate Steve Wynn and, most recently, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Brafman said in a May court filing that federal prosecutors in NY had opened a separate criminal investigation into the allegations.

Louise Godbold, a British woman living in Los Angeles, said the phenomenon of global support that has sprung up with allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein and others "was the honeymoon".