The accusations, first reported past year by the New York Times and the New Yorker, gave rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of misconduct.
Prosecutors did not identify the two women, but said the crimes took place in 2004 and 2013.
The charges follow a flood of accusations against Weinstein that led women around the world to come forward with accounts of being sexually harassed by powerful men.
Shortly before a grim-faced Weinstein appeared before the judge to face charges against two women, in a momentous day for the more than 70 who have accused him.
Dozens of women have made allegations against the 66-year-old, including rape and sexual assault, and giving rise to the #MeToo movement.
Bail was set at $1 million cash with a $10 million bond. Assistant D.A. and Special Counsel Joan Illuzzi stated in substance at the arraignment that Weinstein would be fitted with a monitoring device, which enables him to be tracked 24/7; if he wishes to travel beyond NY or CT, he must seek prior approval from the People and the Court; and he surrendered his passport, and may not apply for a new or replacement passport.
As he walked into the station, he was holding three books.
Police officers removed Weinstein's handcuffs after Illuzzi finished speaking.
Weinstein has been investigated by British and U.S. police, but has not yet been charged with any crime.
After his arraignment on Friday morning, Weinstein posted $1 million bail and surrendered his passport. "We, the women, finally have real hope for justice", Argento said.
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"We are one step closer to justice", McGowan was quoted as saying by Variety. "And hopefully that will actually heal a lot of the kind of trauma I get whenever I see his face or whenever I hear his name or whenever I have to read or hear that he says it was consensual. This is a big strike into the heart of abuse of power and it shows people worldwide that this can not and will not stand".
The allegations against Weinstein ultimately toppled him from his namesake media production company, but the allegations have had a ripple effect.
In 2017, he was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the Oscars.
The Women's March also reacted to the news, calling it "an important day in terms of visibility for all women whose lives have been devastated because of the actions of Harvey Weinstein". A 2015 incident involving an Italian model, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, was believed by some law enforcement officials in NY to justify misdemeanor charges.
Cy Vance, Manhattan's district attorney, drew scathing rebuke for his failure to make a criminal case against Weinstein in 2015 even when presented with evidence of the NYPD's undercover sting operation, which produced an apparent admission by Weinstein, captured on audio, that he had touched the breast of Ambra Battilana Gutierrez.
Brafman said in a May court filing that federal prosecutors in NY had opened a separate criminal investigation into the allegations.
Weinstein's rep released a statement following the publication of the New Yorker expose, denying the accusations against him. McGowan has been arguably the most vocal of Weinstein's alleged victims; she has publicly accused him of rape.
A Friday court appearance would mark the first criminal charges filed against the twice-married, shamed former titan. It's unclear why the order was not prohibiting contact with both accusers.
Weinstein has repeatedly denied accusations of non-consensual sex.
Until the scandal, Weinstein was among the most influential forces in American film.