Harvey Weinstein may not enjoy the taste of his turkey this Thanksgiving after a New York judge just carved up most of the much-accused producer’s last ditch attempts to escape life behind bars if found guilty at his rape trial next year.
In a November 26 dated order on the omnibus motions of Weinstein’s defense lawyers, the New York Supreme Court’s Judge James Burke decided that Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra will be allowed to testify in the January 6 starting trial.
Months after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr’s office first indicted the Oscar winning producer on multiple sex assault charges and arrested him, a new claim was added to the case involving the mid-1990s rape of Sciorra by Weinstein. Aware of how testimony of prior bad acts by a chorus of victims had decisively sunk the now imprisoned Bill Cosby in his 2018 retrial, the defense fought to have the count and any testimony by The Jungle Fever actor tossed out on grounds of “fair notice” – unsurprisingly, they failed.
“The People also point to the defendant’s own actions which led to the delayed disclosure by the complainant, thereby making it difficult to pinpoint an exact date of the alleged assault,” Judge Burke notes of the D.A’s response to Weinstein’s arguments against Sciorra taking the stand (read it here). “The Court has considered the totality of the circumstances and finds that all factors point to the reasonableness of the notice provided to the defendant,” the judge adds.
Like the unsuccessful effort to get the trial moved out of media heavy NYC, Weinstein pretty much was blown out on all moves to hobble or halt the D.A.’s case and the trial start date. The only motion that the defense got a greenlight on was their desire to inspect the minutes of the Grand Jury proceedings, which many reveal how evidence was presented and in what pivotal context. However, Judge Burke also made evident he didn’t see a lot there for Weinstein’s lawyer to hang their defense hat on. “The Court has reviewed the Grand Jury minutes and finds that they are legally sufficient to support the charges and that the proceedings were properly conducted,” he stated.
Weinstein representatives and lawyers had no comment Wednesday on the wide spread order by Judge Burke, as they are said to be reviewing it.
First arrested in late May 2018, Weinstein is facing multiple counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape.
Subject to travel restrictions reinforced last August 7, the 67-year-old producer is out on $1 million bail after first entering a not guilty plea on July 9 last year. Weinstein entered a plea of not guilty again on August 26 this year when a new indictment was added.
Accused by Ashley Judd in a now temporarily halted case and failing to get a sex trafficking class action tossed out, Weinstein is also facing allegations from more than 60 women that he sexually assaulted or sexually harassed them. In that vein, Weinstein is under investigation by federal prosecutors as well as probes by the Manhattan D.A.’s office, the NYPD, the LAPD and more globally.
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