Judge Reprimands Harvey Weinstein Legal Team, Refuses to Grant Delay Request
Given his infamously belligerent personality and predilection for public meltdowns (including one tantrum where he allegedly put out a cigarette in a plate of lox on a craft services table), it’s perhaps unsurprising that disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been on less than great behavior in the months leading up to his trial. He has reportedly had fights with members of his legal team, leading at least one of his lawyers to quit, and a dispute over payment led to at least one female lawyer on his team to choose not to work with him, despite his repeated (and very charming!) requests to hire a “skirt” to represent him.
Now, it’s not Weinstein who’s in trouble, but his legal team. On Thursday, Weinstein defense attorneys Jose Baez and Ronald Sullivan were reprimanded by Judge Brian Cogan for essentially trying to double-book two trials: the Weinstein case; and the case of hedge fund manager Mark Nordlicht, who is facing charges of security fraud. Baez and Sullivan represent both clients.
On Wednesday, State Supreme Court Justice James Burke, who is overseeing the Weinstein case, called Cogan to tell him that Sullivan and Baez had “a significant trial set before him to commence in early June.” (Weinstein’s trial is set to start June 3rd.) This was in spite of the fact that Cogan was set to hear the Nordlicht case on April 19th, which was expected to run at least two months and would have overlapped with the Weinstein trial.
Cogan was reportedly furious, and essentially accused Weinstein’s legal team of manipulating him and Burke to buy more time for the Weinstein trial. “Not only did Mr. Nordlicht’s attorneys fail to advise this Court of their competing obligation when this Court reset trial for 4/15/19, but they attempted to push the trial date for this case a month later, which would have ensured the conflict,” Cogan wrote.
In court on Thursday, Cogan refused to delay the Nordlicht case, despite the overlap, and further upbraided Baez and Sullivan, telling them that “judges tend to know when lawyers are playing judges off of each other.” In an even more punitive (and honestly kind of badass) move, he instructed Baez to print out a transcript of the hearing and deliver it to Burke, as well as personally call Burke to apologize.
As of now, Weinstein is expected to appear in court on June 3rd. He is facing charges of forcibly performing oral sex on a production assistant in 2006 and raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013. If convicted, he faces life in prison.