Jian Ghomeshi showed up at a Toronto courtroom Thursday morning to face new charges of sexual assault. Three more women have come forward, leading to three more charges being laid. The charges are in addition to the five that the former CBC Radio host is already facing.
Reporter: “Is there anything you want to say?”
It was a surprise that 47-year-old Jian Ghomeshi even appeared at court, given that it was expected to be just an opportunity to set a date for a hearing.
On his left, in a black coat and turtleneck sweater, was his lawyer Marie Henein. She spoke for Ghomeshi when three new charges were read in at court. He only had to nod his understanding. His mother, sitting in the front row of the courtroom, would continue as his surety for $100,000 bail, but she didn’t have to speak either.
So six different women are now accusing Ghomeshi and he faces eight charges. All of the charges are sex assault charges except for one. That one, ‘overcome resistance – choking’ is the most serious of the charges. It carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and it means Ghomeshi is accused of choking a woman to overcome her resistance of a sexual assault.
Reporter: “What’s your response to the new charges?”
Henein has said Ghomeshi will plead not guilty. But neither had a comment as they left court Thursday. Lawyer Isaac Zisckind told CHCH News that their appearance would have been well planned: “We’re talking about charges that could end him up with a lot of years in jail. I doubt any move he makes during the next year while this trial will be going on is going to be uncalculated. I don’t think it’s just ego. I think his lawyer will be very smart in every way — how he walks into the courtroom, how he dresses, how his hair looks, how his face looks. That’s part of her strategy. That’s part of her job.”
Ghomeshi was fired from the CBC in October and was first charged about a month after that. He has said that he likes rough sex, but that all his encounters have been consensual.