NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former film producer Harvey Weinstein asked a New York State Court of Appeals Wednesday to delay his rape trial and take him out of Manhattan, the day before the final selection phase begins. jury.
Film producer Harvey Weinstein leaves the New York Criminal Court while continuing the selection of the jury in his trial for sexual assault in the Manhattan district of New York City, New York, USA. UU., January 15, 2020. REUTERS / Lucas Jackson
In a presentation to the Appeals Division, Arthur Aidala, one of Weinstein’s lawyers, said the trial should be moved because “the current place has become a carnival atmosphere that no potential jury can avoid.”
He said the atmosphere had been fueled by the great coverage of the press, protests outside the courthouse and the appearance on Monday of supermodel Gigi Hadid, who was called as a potential juror.
Aidala also said that, of 142 possible jurors who had completed written questionnaires, 130 said they had heard about the case before.
Weinstein asked the court of appeals to move the trial once before, on the grounds that media attention would prevent him from getting a fair trial in Manhattan, but that request was denied in October.
On January 8, the day after the selection of the jury began, Weinstein filed a motion for Judge James Burke to withdraw from the case, accusing him of bias, but the judge denied that motion.
A spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Cyrus Vance, who is processing the case, declined to comment on Weinstein’s latest motion.
Weinstein, 67, pleaded not guilty to the charges of assaulting two women and faces life imprisonment if convicted of the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault.
Since 2017, more than 80 women, including many famous actresses, have accused him of sexual misconduct that goes back decades. Weinstein has denied the accusations, saying that any sexual encounter he has had was agreed upon.
The accusations helped boost the #MeToo movement, in which women have made themselves public with accusations of misconduct against powerful men in business, entertainment and politics.
Many potential jurors were fired in the shortlist after saying they could not be fair and impartial in the case.
Weinstein, once one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, left his mark with critically acclaimed films such as “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
On January 6, when the trial began in New York, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced new charges of sexual assault against Weinstein.
Brendan Pierson report in New York; Edition by Tom Brown and Richard Pullin