Harvey Weinstein urges court to delay rape trial, move it out of Manhattan

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 16, 2020, 09.01 AM(IST)

Harvey Weinstein Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

This news comes a day before the final phase of jury selection in Harvey Weinstein's rape trial is scheduled to begin. 

Harvey Weinstein has now asked a New York state appeals court to delay his rape trial. He also wants it to be moved out of Manhattan.

The former media mogul is currently undergoing trial for alleged rape, levied by more than one woman. This news comes a day before the final phase of jury selection is scheduled to begin. 

A new plea was filed by Harvey Weinstein with the Appellate Division as one of his lawyers, Arthur Aidala, said the trial should be moved because "the current venue has devolved into a carnival-like atmosphere that no potential juror can avoid." He told in his filing that the atmosphere in the city had become toxic owing to heavy press coverage on the case, the ongoing protests outside the courthouse. What adds to Harvey Weinstein’s worry is the recent appearance of supermodel Gigi Hadid who was called as a potential juror. 

His lawyer, Arthur Aidala further said that out of 142 potential jurors who had filled out written questionnaires, 130 said they had heard of the case before. A judge on the case excused dozens of New Yorkers from serving on Harvey Weinstein rape trial jury after most said that they could not be impartial in the case. Also read: The Harvey Weinstein 40 years Journey: From the studio to the courtroom

This is not the first time when Harvey Weinstein has asked the appellate court to move the trial. He had once done on the grounds that media attention would prevent him from getting a fair trial in Manhattan. The court had then rejected the same in October. Also read: Harvey Weinstein charged with rape in LA; could face up to 28 years in prison

Harvey had also earlier this month, the day after jury selection began on the rape trial, filed a motion for Justice James Burke to remove himself from the case. He accused the justice of bias but the judge denied that motion.

Meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women, and faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault. More than 80 women have accused Harvey of various degrees of sexual assault. Harvey has denied them all saying that any sexual encounter was consensual. As the rape trial began, he was accused of sexually assaulting model in new case. 

Also read: Harvey Weinstein to Martin Scorsese, host Ricky Gervais spares no one at Golden Globes