UPDATED, 9:55 AM: In an unsurprising declaration, Harvey Weinstein on Monday entered a plea of not guilty in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on grand jury indictments of rape, battery and other sex crimes.
With the exact same plea he first entered two months ago after being extradited from incarceration in upstate New York, the wheelchair-bound and masked Pulp Fiction executive producer was in LA Superior Court this morning for the brief hearing. His plea comes in response to a series of grand jury indictments this summer from Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s office to overcome statute of limitations rulings.
Weinstein is now charged with four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, one count of sexual penetration by use of force, plus one count of sexual battery by restraint and sexual battery in incidents involving five women in L.A. County over a nine-year period.
Currently being held in a downtown L.A. jail cell and serving out part of the 23-year sentence he was handed by a New York judge in March 2020, the one-time powerful producer is expected back in court October 25.
After Weinstein’s defense team put a motion on the court docket to dismiss the case against its client, the D.A.’s office formally filed its long-awaited “prior acts” motion that would permit other women who have accused Weinstein of rape and other sex crimes to take the stand at his Los Angeles trial. That latter motion was field under seal Monday.
At the rate that the LA DA is pushing this case, a West Coast trial for Weinstein isn’t looking like it will be starting before the middle of 2022 at best.
PREVIOUSLY, August 19 PM: A week after an L.A. judge tossed out a sexual battery charge against Harvey Weinstein, District Attorney George Gascón’s office has come back with a new grand jury indictment against the imprisoned producer on the same matter.
Facing a motion from the defense, Judge Lisa B. Lench on August 12 reaffirmed her previous inclination to see the charge stemming from an alleged 2010 attacked dropped on stature of limitation concerns and how the jurors were informed of the matter behind closed doors earlier this year. The D.A.’s office said that day that while 10 of the 11 West Coast charges against East Coast convicted sex offender Weinstein still remained, they were “taking appropriate steps.
Looks like they did just that yesterday.
Weinstein is expected to be back in court on August 23 in DTLA.
PREVIOUSLY, August 12: Facing 140 years behind bars if found guilty of multiple sex crimes, Harvey Weinstein on Thursday saw a California judge toss out one of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s sexual battery charges against the producer.
Affirming a ruling she made back on July 29, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench this morning, with a wheelchair shackled Weinstein present, rejected an attempt by the D.A.’s office to re-argue the matter
In accordance with the motion put forward by the disgraced producer’s lawyers last month, Lench agreed that prosecutors had not effectively informed a grand jury that the March 11, 2010 attack in a Beverly Hills hotel was now outside the 10-year span of the statute of limitations on such crimes.
In fact, the D.A.’s office had initially pinned the matter on Weinstein in the spring of 2020, which was within the statute. However, because an April 2021 indictment of Weinstein superseded the previous charges, this particular claim now falls outside the required decade span.
The win for Weinstein, who has pleaded not guilty to the L.A. charges, comes less than a month after the once-feared mogul was finally extradited from New York state to face charges and a trial here in the City of Angels. Even with this specific sexual battery charge now dropped, Weinstein faces 10 other sex crimes claims including rape.
No trial date has been set in the matter, but one could be during a hearing in September.
“Mr. Weinstein faces very serious charges,” said Alex Bastian, special advisor to the DA, today after the hearing. “Ten of the 11 counts stand. We are taking appropriate steps so that justice prevails in this case.”
Weinstein’s camp distinctly had a comment of their own, too.
“We are pleased that the judge agreed that one of the charges alleged was barred by the statue of limitations,” a rep for Weinstein told Deadline after today’s hearing. “It remains dismissed and it never should have been brought in the first place. We consider this a partial victory, but know there is quite the road ahead. Harvey remains optimistic and hopeful.”
Ranging from 2004-2013, the now unsealed charges could see L.A. District Attorney George Gascón’s office do what the Manhattan D.A did in its successful prosecution of Weinstein and bring in other victims of the producers to act as what is known as “prior bad acts” witnesses. Defense attorneys Mark Werksman and Alan Jackson, who argued in the Los Angeles courtroom today, have made it clear they plan to challenge any such attempt by prosecutors.
Before today, Weinstein faced four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, one count of sexual penetration by use of force, plus two counts of sexual battery by restraint and sexual battery in incidents involving five women in L.A. County over a nine-year period. Now it is one count less, though there is a slim but unlikely chance prosecutors could go back to the grand jury on the dismissed sexual battery count.
Since being flown to Los Angeles on July 20 from his residence at the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, NY, convicted sex offender Weinstein has been held without bail in the Twin Towers jail downtown. The time he is spending under lock and key there is going toward the 23-year sentence he received in March 2020 after being found guilty of two sex crime felony charges in New York.
In April, the ailing 69-year-old Weinstein filed his long-anticipated appeal in the New York case. The office of retiring DA Cyrus Vance Jr has yet to file a response to that appeal.