Wednesday 18 September 2019

Harvey Weinstein set for pivotal court hearing in New York

The charges against the film producer could be dropped.

Harvey Weinstein is due in court in New York (David Mirzoeff/PA)
Harvey Weinstein is due in court in New York (David Mirzoeff/PA)

By Keiran Southern, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Harvey Weinstein is due in court for a hearing which could see the sexual assault case against him dismissed.

Weinstein was one of Hollywood’s most powerful figures when scores of women – including A-list actresses – came forward in 2017 to allege he had sexually assaulted them.

The flood of accusations brought the #MeToo movement to the forefront of the public consciousness and triggered the fall of a string of high-profile men.

Harvey Weinstein is due in court for a potentially pivotal hearing (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Film producer Weinstein has become the focal point of the movement and is facing charges of sexual assault in New York.

He is accused of raping a woman in a hotel room in March 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman in 2006 at his apartment in Manhattan. Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.

On Thursday, a judge could dismiss the charges.

Weinstein’s lawyers argue the sexual assault allegations he is facing are the result of an unscrupulous police investigation and that one witness was pressured by a detective to give evidence supporting one of his accusers.

Lawyer Benjamin Brafman urged a judge to “stop this chaos” and dismiss the case while prosecutors maintain there is “ample evidence” to put Weinstein, 66, on trial.

Actress and activist Rose McGowan, one of the most prominent figures of the #MeToo movement (Ian West/PA)

On Thursday, Weinstein will appear before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke, who will make the decision.

The judge has multiple options, including finding in favour of Weinstein and dismissing some or all of the charges.

Justice Burke could side with prosecutors and schedule a trial.

Another possible outcome is Justice Burke throws out the indictment but gives prosecutors time to seek a new one, keeping the case against the movie mogul alive.

He could also keep the indictment but grant Weinstein’s legal team’s request for an evidentiary hearing, which would mean police investigators could be ordered to court to answer questions about alleged misconduct.

Weinstein’s case is the highest profile triggered by the #MeToo movement, with accusers including Rose McGowan and Asia Argento.

Weinstein is also being investigated by police in Los Angeles and the UK.

Thursday’s hearing is scheduled to begin at 9.30am local time (2.30pm GMT).

PA Media

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