UNITED STATES NEWS

Harvey Weinstein may face new charges as more accusers come forward, New York prosecutors say

May 28, 2024, 10:04 PM | Updated: May 29, 2024, 5:34 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Manhattan prosecutors told a judge Wednesday they are evaluating more claims of sexual misconduct made against Harvey Weinstein and could potentially seek a new indictment against him before his scheduled retrial on rape and sexual assault charges.

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 that were not ready to step forward during Weinstein’s first New York trial may now be willing to testify.

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

Blumberg said prosecutors would be in a better position to update the court on the direction of the case at the end of June.

Farber set the next hearing date for July 9. The retrial on the rape charge is tentatively scheduled for some time after Labor Day.

Weinstein’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, told reporters outside the courthouse after the hearing that his client was confident no additional accusers would be found to bolster the prosecution’s case.

“He knows he’s never done anything like this,” Aidala said of Weinstein.

Weinstein, appearing in the same New York City courthouse where former President Donald Trump is on trial, entered the court in a wheelchair, as he has during other recent court hearings since his 2020 conviction was tossed out.

Weinstein has suffered from medical problems throughout his time in jail, his lawyers have said. He is currently at the city’s Rikers Island jail complex.

Earlier in the hearing, Farber addressed a letter from prosecutors last week requesting the court 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 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.

Aidala, Weinstein’s lawyer, apologized to the judge, saying he didn’t intend to intimidate anyone.

But he said his client is also entitled to a “vigorous defense,” and that it is the defense’s position that “lies were told at the last trial, and will be told at this one.”

Aidala argued lawyers for Weinstein’s accusers have been holding press conferences criticizing Weinstein throughout his legal ordeal.

“Who gets to stand up for Harvey Weinstein?” he asked in court. “Who gets to be his voice?”

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

Haley didn’t attend Wednesday’s hearing and has expressed reluctance about going through the trauma of testifying again.

Her lawyer Gloria Allred said outside the courthouse that her client hasn’t made a decision yet about whether she’ll participate in the retrial.

But Allred called on Aidala to apologize to Haley for the “unwarranted, vicious and false” attack on her, made in the courtroom earlier Wednesday. Aidala declined, speaking to reporters later.

Speaking outside of court on May 1, Aidala said 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.”

Weinstein’s original trial was held in the same courtroom where Trump is on trial now, but the two men were unlikely to bump into each other. Weinstein is in custody and was brought to and from the courtroom under guard. He appeared in a courtroom on a different floor than where Trump is currently on trial.

At his 2020 trial, Weinstein was convicted of raping Jessica Mann, an aspiring actor, and of sexually assaulting 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 Associated Press does not generally identify people alleging sexual assault unless they consent to be named, as both Haley and Mann have.

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.

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.

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Follow Philip Marcelo at twitter.com/philmarcelo.

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Harvey Weinstein may face new charges as more accusers come forward, New York prosecutors say