Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial has been pushed back to January after the disgraced movie executive pleaded not guilty to revised charges on predatory sexual assault Monday, the Associated Press reports.
Weinstein’s trial was set to begin next month, but the new development prompted the judge to push the start date to January 6th so the defense would have time to respond to the revised indictment. Weinstein faces five felony charges: Two for predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, one count for first degree rape, and one count for third degree rape. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges and claimed all of his sexual encounters were consensual.
While no new charges were filed against Weinstein Monday, the revised indictment will allow Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra to testify to the two predatory sexual assault charges during the trial. Sciorra has accused Weinstein of barging into her New York City apartment and raping her in 1993, though that claim is too old to be prosecuted as rape under the statute of limitations.
As USA Today points out, prosecutors believe Sciorra’s testimony will help them prove Weinstein committed predatory sexual assault, which means the defendant assaulted at least two women. A conviction on predatory sexual assault charges can carry a sentence of 25 years in prison.
Following Monday’s hearings, one of Weinstein’s attorneys, Donna Rotunno, said they will file motions to dismiss the new indictment, calling it a “desperate” attempt to salvage the prosecution’s case. Gloria Allred, who represents Weinstein’s accusers, backed up the prosecution and wondered why Weinstein’s attorneys are “so afraid of having additional witnesses testify.”
Prior to Monday’s hearing, Weinstein’s attorneys filed a motion asking to move the trial out of New York City, to either Long Island or Albany, New York. They claim that the media coverage surrounding Weinstein has made it impossible for him to get a fair trial in New York City, though prosecutors countered that the defense failed to prove media coverage was more significant in in the New York than Long Island and Albany. They also argued that Weinstein’s own legal defense has contributed to the media circus, filing three-pages worth of news clippings featuring statements to reporters.