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Harvey Weinstein's New York trial, round two, is likely to move forward in the fall

Harvey Weinstein appears in at Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday, May 1.
Steven Hirsch
/
AFP via Getty Images
Harvey Weinstein appears in at Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday, May 1.

Editor's note: This report includes descriptions of sexual assault.

In a New York criminal courtroom Wednesday afternoon, the Manhattan district attorney's office told Judge Curtis Farber that they intend to pursue a new trial against disgraced former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, after his previous New York felony sex crime conviction was overturned last week. The new trial is slated to begin sometime after Labor Day, according to Judge Curtis Farber.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg confirmed that his office is working on putting together a new trial, noting in a press conference Wednesday afternoon, "We are already moving forward in that matter, and having conversations with survivors, centering their well-being and pursuing justice."

The 72-year-old Weinstein was rolled into court Wednesday in a wheelchair. After his conviction was overturned last week, he was transferred from the Mohawk Correctional Facility in upstate New York, where he had been serving a 23-year sentence, to Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital for monitoring and treatment. During Wednesday's hearing, Farber remanded Weinstein back into custody.

In comments during a press conference after the hearing, one of Weinstein's lawyers, Arthur Aidala, observed, "Mr. Weinstein is clearly physically not in good health," and added, "Mentally, he is fine – as sharp as a tack, but physically he is breaking down."

Aidala also reiterated Weinstein's innocence, saying: "We have a tremendous sense of relief that we're back here. The most obvious difference is the judge that we're before."

Weinstein's previous conviction in New York was overturned after the state's Court of Appeals decreed that Weinstein had not received a fair trial, in part because the judge in that trial, James Burke, had allowed testimony from women whose allegations were not part of the charges. These women's testimonies were allowed by Burke as so-called "Molineux witnesses," or "prior bad act witnesses." Legal experts say that because the bar for Molineux witnesses can be highly subjective, their use leaves verdicts more open to legal challenges.

However, in Feb. 2023, Weinstein was also convicted of rape and sexual assault in a separate trial in Los Angeles; he has been sentenced to a 16-year prison term in California, to be served after the end of his New York imprisonment. Weinstein's lawyers say they are appealing the California conviction as well. The brief for that appeal is due to the court later this month.

It is unclear whether all the women whose accusations were part of the first round of New York charges will be willing to testify again in front of a new jury. Attorney Gloria Allred, who has represented accuser Mimi Haleyi, said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon: "Mimi has not yet reached a decision whether or not she will agree to testify in the new trial. She has stated that the vacating of the [New York] conviction was retraumatizing to her, and that it will be even more traumatic to testify once again. She made an enormous sacrifice of time and emotion during the years prior to her finally taking the witness stand at the trial."

Copyright 2024 NPR

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Anastasia Tsioulcas
Anastasia Tsioulcas is a correspondent on NPR's Culture desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including the trial and conviction of former R&B superstar R. Kelly; backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; and gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards.