India-born celebrity fashion designer Anand Jon on Friday pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting nearly 20 women, including aspiring models.
The 33-year-old designer, who earlier this year was on Newsweek magazine's list of people to watch in 2007, is being held without bail. He made a brief appearance in Los Angeles court on Thursday.
Jon faces 59 indictments that include forcible rape, lewd acts upon a child, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and attempted forcible oral copulation. Jon was first arrested by the Beverly Hills Police on March 6.
He allegedly targeted females between the ages of 14 and 27 from November 2002 to March 2007.
Anthony Brooklier, Jon's attorney, said the women who made the allegations against Jon were involved in collusion against the designer.
"We think that there was collusion," the defense attorney said about the alleged victims. "We think this is made up whole-cloth, the entire case."
Beverly Hills police launched an investigation in March after a woman reported that she had been sexually assaulted by Jon at his Beverly Hills apartment.
Jon is also under investigation in Dallas, Houston, New York and Massachusetts, and could face life in prison if convicted of the charges in the indictment.
If convicted on all charges, he could get life in prison.
A bail review hearing is scheduled for November 7. Jon has won numerous fashion awards, including a 2002 People's Choice for 'Best New Designer' and a 2002-03 Fashion Week of the Americas 'International New Star'.