Jian Ghomeshi's lawyer said Wednesday that the former CBC radio host will plead not guilty after being arrested and charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of "overcome resistance - choking."
Marie Henein, the lawyer who will represent Ghomeshi, made the announcement during a chaotic press conference in the crowded atrium of College Park in Toronto.
Ghomshi and Henein emerged from an elevator and walked through a throng of assembled media before stopping in an alcove to deliver a short statement. The crowd was so large that many TV crews were unable to capture what was said. Ghomeshi remained silent.
Toronto Sun reporter Don Peat did hear the statement and relayed it in a series of tweets. Henein said her client "will be pleading not guilty."
"We will address these allegations fully and directly in a courtroom. It is not my practice to litigate my cases in the media," Henein said. "We will say whatever we have to say in a court of law. We will not be making any further media statements nor will Mr. Ghomeshi be making any further media statements."
Ghomeshi was earlier released on $100,000 bail on the conditions that he surrender his passport, take up residence with his mother and not leave Ontario. A publication ban was also granted barring the media from reporting any evidence heard during the bail hearing. Ghomeshi's next court appearance will be on Jan. 8.
The former radio host had previously arrived at the courthouse in the back of a police car
Henein is a prominent lawyer in Toronto who previously defended former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant after he was charged with criminal negligence and dangerous driving in the death of a cyclist. The charges were later dropped.
Ghomeshi has been under formal investigation by police since the end of October when three women, including actress and Canadian Forces training officer Lucy Decoutere, filed complaints.
Decoutere issued a short statement following Ghomeshi's arrest.
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. I hope that victims' voices continue to be heard and that this is the start of a change that is so desperately needed.
In a statement after the arrest, CBC said it understands "none of the charges involve employees or former employees of CBC and we won't be commenting abut charges that are now before the courts."
On Tuesday the CBC announced Ghomeshi will drop his lawsuit against the broadcaster for defamation, breach of confidence and punitive damages. A CBC spokesman said Ghomeshi will pay the CBC $18,000 in legal costs. The Globe and Mail reported that Ghomeshi will continue to pursue his reinstatement through a grievance previously filed with his union, the Canadian Media Guild.
Ghomeshi's public Facebook page also disappeared on Tuesday (his personal page remains active). His Twitter account was deleted on Nov. 20.
Since the first allegations in mid-October,at least 14 people have come forward to say Ghomeshi assaulted or harassed them.
With previous files
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