Weinstein may face new charges, New York prosecutors say

29 May 2024, 21:54

Sexual Misconduct Harvey Weinstein
Sexual Misconduct Harvey Weinstein. Picture: PA

The disgraced movie mogul is facing retrial on rape charges later this year.

Manhattan prosecutors told a judge that they are evaluating new claims of sexual misconduct made against Harvey Weinstein.

Prosecutors said they could potentially seek a new indictment against the former movie mogul ahead of his scheduled retrial on rape charges later this year.

Assistant district attorney Nicole Blumberg said during a court hearing that additional people have come forward with assault claims and prosecutors are currently assessing which fall under the statute of limitations.

She said some potential survivors who were not ready to step forward during Weinstein’s first trial may now be willing to testify.

Sexual Misconduct Harvey Weinstein
The fallen movie mogul is awaiting a retrial on rape charges after his 2020 conviction was thrown out (Steven Hirsch/New York Post via AP, Pool)

When asked by Judge Curtis Farber whether there was a possibility of prosecutors filing a new indictment, Ms Blumberg replied: “Yes, your honour.”

Weinstein appeared before the judge on Wednesday afternoon in the same New York City courthouse where former President Donald Trump is on trial.

He entered the court in a wheelchair, as he has during other recent court hearings after his 2020 conviction was tossed out.

Ms Blumberg said prosecutors would be in a better position to update the court on the direction of the case at the end of June. The retrial on the rape charge is tentatively scheduled for some time after Labour Day.

Arthur Aidala, Weinstein’s lawyer, also addressed a letter prosecutors sent to the judge last week asking him to remind Weinstein’s lawyers not to discuss or disparage potential witnesses in public ahead of the retrial.

Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg’s office argues that Mr Aidala made statements earlier this month that were meant to intimidate Miriam Haley, a former TV and film production assistant who Weinstein was convicted of sexually assaulting.

Mr Aidala apologised to the judge but said he did not intend to intimidate anyone and that it is the defence’s position that “lies were told at the last trial, and will be told at this one”.

Judge Farber, in response, directed both sides to “refrain from pandering to press,” saying the case will “not be decided in the court of public opinion” but in the court of justice.

He also set the next court date for July 9.

Sexual Misconduct-Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein was also convicted of another rape in Los Angeles and was sentenced to 16 years in prison in California (Etienne Laurent/Pool Photo via AP)

At his 2020 trial, Weinstein was convicted of raping Jessica Mann, an aspiring actor, and of sexually assaulting Ms Haley.

But last month New York’s highest court threw out those convictions after determining that the trial judge unfairly allowed testimony against him based on allegations from other women that weren’t part of the case.

Weinstein, 72, has maintained that any sexual activity was consensual.

The New York ruling reopened a painful chapter in America’s reckoning with sexual misconduct by powerful figures.

The #MeToo era began in 2017 with a flood of allegations against Weinstein.

Speaking outside of court on May 1, Mr Aidala said Ms Haley lied to the jury about her motive in coming forward and that his team planned an aggressive cross-examination on the issue “if she dares to come and show her face here”.

Ms Haley has said she does not want to go through the trauma of testifying again, “but for the sake of keeping going and doing the right thing and because it is what happened, I would consider it”.

Weinstein, who had been serving a 23-year sentence in New York, was also convicted in Los Angeles in 2022 of another rape and is still sentenced to 16 years in prison in California.

Both Ms Haley and Mann have consented to be named.

By Press Association

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