Harvey Weinstein, in a wheelchair, pleads not guilty to sexual assault charges in Los Angeles

Disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to 11 sexual assault charges in a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday, a day after he was moved across the country from his New York prison.

Weinstein, 69, appeared in a wheelchair in the hearing, while a medical mask covered his mouth and sat under his nose.

His use of a wheelchair reflects what his attorneys have said is his deteriorating physical health in recent years. During his criminal trial in New York early last year, he arrived to court each day using a walker, and he appeared at his sentencing in March 2020 in a wheelchair.

In the short court hearing Wednesday, Weinstein did and said little. His lawyers filed a motion to dismiss three of the 11 counts against him, saying the statute of limitations has expired. The attorney also requested a medical evaluation, which the judge granted.

The 11 charges include four counts of forcible rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint, and one count of sexual penetration by use of force. The alleged assaults involve five women between 2004 and 2013.

His next court appearance is July 29.

The court hearing comes nearly four years after investigative stories by The New York Times and The New Yorker revealed Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual abuse, harassment and secret settlements as he used his influence as a Hollywood power broker to take advantage of young women.

The revelations led to a wave of women speaking publicly about the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and harassment in what’s known as the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein was found guilty last year in New York of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape and is serving a 23-year prison sentence at a maximum security prison outside of Buffalo. He did not testify in his own defense, but at his sentencing last March he offered an unexpected, rambling speech that oscillated between remorse, defense of his actions and confusion.

“I’m not going to say these aren’t great people, I had wonderful times with these people, you know,” Weinstein said of the women who accused him of assault. “It is just I’m totally confused and I think men are confused about all of these issues.”

Due to his declining health, his attorneys have decried the lengthy prison term as a de facto life sentence. His legal team filed an appeal earlier this year, saying a biased judge and a biased juror tainted the trial.

Last month, a New York judge approved his extradition to Los Angeles County for him to face further charges.

He was originally charged in Los Angeles County in January 2020 with sexually assaulting two women in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013. In April, prosecutors added an additional charge that stems from an alleged incident at a Beverly Hills hotel in May 2010, and in October prosecutors added six new charges.

He has denied the allegations, according to his spokesman Juda Engelmayer.

“Harvey Weinstein has always maintained that every one of his physical encounters throughout his entire life have been consensual. That hasn’t changed,” Engelmayer said.

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The pandemic changed the way we ate and shopped — not always for the better

The pandemic changed the way we ate and shopped — not always for the better


FILE – In this May 23, 2011 file photo, consumer Sonia Romero shops for tomatoes at a Superior Grocers store in Los Angeles. As food costs continue rising, many grocery shoppers are seeking new ways to cut costs. After you’ve tried every store brand and linked, scanned and clipped every coupon in sight, what about buying in bulk? (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)


(CNN) — Covid-19 affected our lives in so many ways, including how we ate and shopped. The changes were not always for the better, according to a series of reports presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition.

Increase in junk food intake

An analysis by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found some of us increased our consumption of unhealthy snacks and desserts, including chips, cookies and ice cream, while also guzzling more sugary drinks such as sweetened coffee and teas, regular sodas, fruit drinks, and sports or energy drinks.

Over a third (36%) of the nearly 4,000 Americans who were surveyed in June 2020 reported sometimes consuming more unhealthy snacks and desserts than before the pandemic, while 22% said they sometimes drank sugary drinks.

However, 16% said they ate snacks and sweets often or always, while 10% said the same of sugary beverages. People who reported consuming the most unhealthy foods and drinks were more likely to identify as Hispanic or Black and be younger than age 65, obese, female, and of lower income and education levels.

The same survey also asked about food availability and safety. Nearly 6 in 10 people — predominately lower-income, unemployed, Black or Hispanic adults — said they were worried about not being able to obtain food at nearby stores or were concerned they might catch Covid-19 from food. Early fears that Covid-19 could be spread via food packaging were quickly discounted by scientists.

These findings “highlight the importance of strategies and communications that reduce fears and prevent unintended negative behaviors,” such as food hoarding and panic buying, said dietitian Brianna Dumas, a fellow in the CDC’s Research Participation Program, in an abstract.

In addition, public health officials should stress “consumer awareness of food access options during emergencies, including promotion of hunger safety net programs, especially among disproportionately affected groups,” Dumas said.

A drop in healthy foods

Another study analyzed the diets of more than 2,000 Americans before and during the pandemic and found a decrease in the consumption of healthy foods, including vegetables and whole grains, during the past year.

“This decrease was the most pronounced among women, black and Latino study participants, and participants who gained at least five pounds or more since 2018,” said Caroline Um, a postdoctoral fellow at the American Cancer Society, in a statement.

Um plans to follow study participants to understand how their diets might continue to change. Other studies will investigate which factors, such as mental health or financial stressors, might be involved in the change in eating behaviors.

Kids gained weight

Nearly 30% of 433 parents surveyed by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University said their child had gained an average of 9.6 pounds in the months between May and September of 2020.

Parents of children between 5 and 18 years old were questioned before the pandemic and again in May and September of 2020 about their concerns regarding their child’s weight.

Families who said their child gained weight during that time period were concerned about that trend and attempted to monitor and restrict their child’s eating habits in both May and September. However, in families where children did not gain weight, parents were initially concerned and monitored their child’s food intake in May, but had stopped doing so by September.

Further research is needed to investigate and target the “different behavioral, societal, environmental, and psychosocial factors” that might contribute to weight gain among children and adolescents, wrote Melanie Bean, an associate professor of pediatrics and co-director of the Healthy Lifestyles Center at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University, in an abstract.

Teasing people about their weight

Another study presented at the conference looked at the impact on children when family members teased them or made other critical comments about their weight. Researchers from Tufts University found that exposure to negative family comments about weight “as little as 3 times per month was significantly associated with moderate to high levels of weight bias internalization,” according to the study.

Prior research has shown that when children and adults experience weight stigma and internalize it, that itself can predict weight gain.

“A common perception is that a little shame or stigma might motivate people to lose weight, but that is not what we see in research,” Rebecca Puhl, deputy director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, told CNN in a prior interview.

“In fact, when people experience weight stigma, this actually contributes to unhealthy eating behaviors, lower physical activity and weight gain,” Puhl said. “Our studies show that when parents shift the conversation to healthy behaviors, that tends to be much more effective.

“The focus isn’t on the number on the weight scale, but on the whole family eating fruits and vegetables, replacing soda with water, getting daily physical activity,” she added.

Online grocery shopping

A study done in the early days of the pandemic — March and April of 2020 — found that a third of the nearly 18,000 households surveyed said they were shopping online for groceries, and, of those, 60% said they planned to continue to do so after the pandemic passed.

Their top reasons? Over 80% said it was to “avoid public germs and Covid-19,” while 44% wanted to “take advantage of the convenience,” according to Shu Wen Ng, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Higher food prices in areas with higher restrictions

Researchers from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy analyzed retail prices for food and other consumer goods in 133 counties in the United States and compared them to the levels of Covid-19 restrictions imposed by local governments.
Results showed that a higher level of government restrictions during the pandemic was associated with higher food prices, but did not affect the cost of other consumer goods.