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Harvey Weinstein’s Rape Trial Postponed to September

Variety logo Variety 4/26/2019 Gene Maddaus
Harvey Weinstein wearing a suit and tie © JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial has been postponed to Sept. 9, a judge ruled on Friday.

The disgraced producer had been set to go on trial on June 3, but Justice James Burke agreed to give the defense additional time to prepare.

Weinstein is accused of five counts of rape and sexual assault, involving two victims, and could face life in prison if convicted. Earlier Friday, Burke ordered the courtroom closed for an argument on a prosecution motion to allow additional women to testify in the case.

Robert Balin, an attorney representing more than a dozen media outlets, protested that the hearing should be open to the public, and vowed to appeal Burke’s ruling.

The media was allowed back into the courtroom on Friday afternoon for a discussion of scheduling matters. The prosecution expects its portion of the case to take about three weeks, while defense attorney Jose Baez estimated he would need one week to put on a defense. Jury selection is expected to take about two weeks.

Weinstein was originally supposed to go on trial in May, but he fired his lead attorney, Ben Brafman, in January, causing a delay.

Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting Mimi Haleyi, a former production assistant, at his home in 2006. He is also accused of raping an unidentified woman at a hotel room in Manhattan in 2013. Prosecutors want to call additional women with similar allegations to help establish a pattern of misconduct. The number and identities of those women has been kept secret.

The defense has argued that calling such witnesses would prejudice the case, and asked the court to close Friday’s hearing on the subject to avoid tainting the jury pool. The prosecution also asked that the hearing be closed, in part to protect the witnesses’ identities. Burke’s decision, if he made one, was not disclosed.

The two sides also discussed discovery issues on Friday, as the defense sought access to a witness’s cell phone records.

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