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Weinstein trial postponed to Sept.

Apr 29,2019
Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial, postponed until September, is now poised to end two years after a wave of women’s allegations against him sparked the Me Too movement.

A Manhattan judge announced the delay Friday after a closed-door hearing in which prosecutors sought to broaden their case to include some of those women’s accounts.

Weinstein’s trial had been scheduled to begin June 3, but both sides indicated they need more time to sort through witness and evidence issues. It is now set for Sept. 9, with jury selection expected to take up to two weeks and testimony lasting about a month.

Weinstein lawyer, Jose Baez, who joined the case in January, saw the delay as a boon to a defense keen on discrediting his accusers and showing that any encounters were consensual.

“We had a very good day in court today. We’re glad that the trial got back to September,” Baez told reporters. “This is going to give us an ample opportunity to dig into the case.”

The three-month delay was Weinstein’s second win of the day, after Judge James Burke decided to close the courtroom and spare him from having the media and the public hear about the prosecution’s plans to bring various accusers into court.

Weinstein is charged with assaulting two women in New York, but prosecutors want jurors to hear from many of the dozens of other women whose allegations against Weinstein haven’t led to criminal charges.

Weinstein, 67, has denied all allegations of wrongdoing. He pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail.

Burke said closing the courtroom for the hearing was “the only means available to avoid the tainting of the jury pool” because the proceeding dealt with material that “is prejudicial to the defendant and is highly inflammatory.”

Lawyers for news organizations, including The Associated Press, argued that the prosecution and defense arguments didn’t meet the high legal standard for banning the media and the public.

Weinstein’s case is “a matter of immense and legitimate public interest,” and the allegations against him are already widely known, said Robert Balin, a lawyer for the news organizations.

Weinstein himself was mum as he came and went from court. Asked how he was doing, he just nodded.

He is charged with raping a female acquaintance in his Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.

AP