Jian Ghomeshi charged with 4 counts of sexual assault, will plead not guilty
WATCH: Jian Ghomeshi has been released on bail and ordered to stay with his mother and not leave the country. Christina Stevens reports.
TORONTO – Former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi plans to plead not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance, his lawyer said Wednesday after he was released on bail.
He turned himself in to police Wednesday morning and was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking.
He appeared in a Toronto courtroom Wednesday afternoon wearing a dark suit with a light shirt and no tie. He was released on $100,000 bail with the condition he must live with his mother.
Ghomeshi has denied the allegations and maintained all his interactions were consensual. He has ignored repeated media requests but said in a Facebook statement he will meet the allegations head-on.
He admitted in another Facebook post to having a history of rough sex but insisted his encounters were consensual.
“I’ve been fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer,” Ghomeshi claimed in the post on October 26.
He did not speak to reporters Wednesday following his court appearance.
That same evening, the Toronto Star published allegations of three anonymous women who said Ghomeshi was physically violent with them without their consent.
Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere was the first accuser to identify herself on Oct. 29 through an article in the Star. She told Global News in a subsequent interview they were kissing when “he pressed me against the wall with my throat and then he slapped me, which was not invited.”
WATCH: Jian Ghomeshi arrives at his mother’s house
DeCoutere released a statement about Ghomeshi Wednesday afternoon shortly after he was granted bail.
“The past month has seen a major shift in the conversation about violence against women. It has been an overwhelming and painful time for many people, including myself, but also very inspiring,” she said in the statement. “I hope that victim’s voices continue to be heard and that this is the start of a change that is so desperately needed.”
Ghomeshi’s arrest comes the day after he dropped a $55 million lawsuit against the CBC. The public broadcaster fired Ghomeshi, 47, on Oct. 26 after seeing what it called “graphic evidence” that he had caused physical injury to a woman.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair refused to comment on the Ghomeshi investigation, saying any new information “will be presented through the courts.”
However, he again called for any alleged victims of sexual assault – in this case or any other – to come forward to police.
“We encourage victims of any sexual assault to come forward and I want to offer them my assurance that they will be treated with dignity and respect,” Blair told reporters Wednesday.
“I think in this case and in other cases there’s strong indication that the victims, when they do come forward, will be treated properly.”
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