According to the complaint, Weinstein was charged with "engaging in sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion".
"Today Harvey Weinstein will take his first step on his inevitable descent to hell".
About 90 minutes later, Weinstein left the police station in handcuffs, flanked by two officers.
As part of the agreement between Brafman and the DA's office, Weinstein's bond was set at $10 million. His travel will be restricted to NY and CT.
Reporter Ronan Farrow, whose New Yorker piece on Weinstein followed the initial exposé in The New York Times by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor - said on CNN of the arrest, "It's an incredible and unexpected moment".
Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press the case will include allegations by Lucia Evans, an aspiring actress who has said the Hollywood mogul forced her to perform oral sex on him in his office. An investigative grand jury, still convened, will look into other sexual assault allegations against Mr. Weinstein as well as possible financial crimes relating to how he paid women to stay silent, people familiar with the proceedings said.
Attorney Benjamin Brafman says Weinstein vehemently denies the charges and will fight to get them dismissed. "We believe that they are not factually supported by the evidence".
Weinstein, the founder of Miramax film studio, arrived in handcuffs at a New York City courthouse on Friday to face the accusations.More news: NFL announces national anthem policy
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The accusations, first reported by the New York Times and the New Yorker a year ago, gave rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of misconduct.
Many delighted in seeing him make the brief walk from the NYPD's 1st Precinct to a police SUV with his hands locked behind his back.
Weinstein is also under investigation for alleged sex crimes in Los Angeles and London. He narrowly escaped prosecution in 2015 when an Italian model went to New York City police and accused him of groping her during a meeting.
The charges come months after he was toppled from Hollywood's most powerful ranks by scores of women accusing him of misconduct. His accusers welcomed the news as a sign that the tables were finally turning - not only on him but on other accused predators. "I thank the fearless survivors who have come forward, and my office's prosecutors who have worked tirelessly on this investigation. And. victims tell the truth, no matter how long and how hard it is to tell the truth, or whether you've been saying it for 20 years and nobody cared to listen".
Besides the immediate satisfaction of seeing Weinstein face justice, McGowan said she firmly believes that his story, and the cultural natural disaster that followed, will have a profound and lasting impact on how society treats powerful abusers who engage in sexual misconduct.
Weinstein has previously denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. Paz de la Huerta, another Weinstein accuser, declined to comment on the news. But just like Cosby's attempt to draw on his reputation as the approachable, goofy family man (the Jell-o guy!), Weinstein's entire past has now been eclipsed by his actions.
As women around the world watch the walk back on social media, affixed to their screens, they feel a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately, the damage he has done to women can never be undone.
What would she say to Weinstein if he was listening? On Thursday, New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor recounted in a tweet some of his threats and declared "not anymore".
"Not in a million years, and one of the hardest conversations I had over and over again with these fearless women was that in addition to the sacrifice they were making in telling this story, they didn't think they would ever be heard if they did take that leap, let alone to see actual accountability", Farrow said.