Weinstein pleads not guilty in L.A.

LOS ANGELES • Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday to four counts of rape and seven other sexual assault counts.

Sheriff’s deputies brought the 69-year-old convicted rapist into court in a wheelchair. He was wearing a brown jail jumpsuit and face mask.

Attorney Mark Werksman entered the plea for the disgraced movie mogul a day after Weinstein was extradited to California from New York, where he was serving a 23-year prison term.

Weinstein spoke only to say “thank you” to Judge Sergio Tapia, who wished him good luck as the hearing ended.

He now awaits a second trial on a second coast, and the possibility of another lengthy sentence.

Weinstein’s indictment involves five women in incidents spanning from 2004 to 2013.

Most are said to have taken place in the hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles that the New York-based Weinstein would make his headquarters for Hollywood business.

He pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force, charges that together could bring a sentence of 140 years.

Cuba critical of Biden and U.S.

HAVANA • Cuba criticized the United States and President Joe Biden on Wednesday for a series of statements by officials after the unprecedented protests on the island last week, accusing the U.S. government of seeking to justify a military intervention.

Johana Tablada, deputy director for U.S. affairs at Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said U.S. officials are painting a false picture of the situation in Cuba, which is struggling with severe economic problems amid a surge in coronavirus infections.

“There is a Walt Disney narrative of a bad government and people fighting for their freedom — stereotypes that scare anyone who has never set foot in Cuba, because of their arrogance and disregard for the truth,” Tablada said in an interview.

At least 17 migrants drown off Tunisia

TUNIS • At least 17 Bengali migrants drowned in a shipwreck off Tunisia as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy from Libya, while more than 380 were rescued by the coast guard, the Tunisian Red Crescent said on Wednesday.

The boat had set off from Zuwara, on Libya’s northwest coast.

news services

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