At a hearing Monday, the judge said he was ready to rule on Jeremy’s motion, filed Feb. 2, but prosecutors asked for more time to respond to the lengthy and novel severance request that seemed to catch them by surprise.
Jeremy, 68, who was born Ronald Hyatt, argues his right to due process will be violated if he’s forced into one umbrella trial for his long list of charges ranging from assaulting minors and drugging women for sex to forcible groping. “Mr. Hyatt moves to sever the allegations related to each individual Jane Doe, so that separate jury trials would result for each one of the Jane Does,” the motion reads.
Jeremy’s attorneys also expressed concern in their motion that media coverage of the trial could sway jury opinion. “Mr. Hyatt must be tried for what he did, not for who he is perceived to be,” they wrote in the motion. “Here, it is clear from the prosecution’s November 8, 2021, briefing, replete with references to Harvey Weinstein, Rolling Stone magazine, YouTube, Daily Mail articles and Mr. Hyatt’s ‘oafish, goofball demeanor,’ that the prosecution seeks to try Mr. Hyatt not only in this court but also in the court of public opinion.
“Allowing Mr. Hyatt’s jury to hear about dozens of allegations of alleged misconduct will prevent his jurors from judging him fairly on each charged count and from scrupulously applying the burden of proof.”
Wearing a yellow surgical mask and a brown jail uniform, indicating that he is still in the jail’s medical ward (as he was when he last appeared in court in December), Jeremy didn’t speak throughout the hearing. He wore his snow-white hair long and also sported an unruly beard.
Before Jeremy was brought in, his attorneys Stuart Goldfarb and Kate Hardie had a sidebar with Judge George Lomeli, during which they objected to a photo request from a member of the media. “I’ve been trying to get his beard shaved for a month at the jail,” Goldfard said, adding that he asked the watch commander to make sure it happens by Jeremy’s next court appearance. The judge denied the media photo request, saying he would allow it at the next hearing.
In response to the motion, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson said that he and fellow Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez needed more time to address it. Judge Lomeli then said he would postpone his ruling until a follow-up hearing on March 3.
In August 2021, Jeremy — long nicknamed the Hedgehog for his hirsute appearance — was indicted and charged with 34 counts of sexual assault from 21 complaining witnesses, including a dozen counts of forcible rape. The charges involve women ranging in age from 15 to 51 at the time of the assault, and go back as far as 1996. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
According to court documents, Jeremy allegedly used his role as a cuddly porn industry elder statesman of sorts to disarm women and entice them into secluded areas, such as hotel bathrooms. Many of the alleged assaults took place at the Rainbow Bar and Grill, a West Hollywood dining establishment where Jeremy was reportedly a regular.
In the defense motion, Jeremy’s attorneys argued that due to the sheer number and breadth of the allegations against him, Jeremy would need to have separate trials to address the individual facts of each case: “the sheer fact that Mr. Hyatt will have to defend himself against 24 accusers and 25 incidents that took place over the course of nearly 40 years will necessarily mean that his defense to every charge will not be the same,” the motion reads.
Jeremy’s attorneys were particularly concerned about the accounts of two accusers who were underage at the time of the alleged assault, including a then-15-year-old woman who has accused Jeremy of allegedly digitally penetrating her at a rave, and a then-17-year-old who alleged Jeremy raped her in her bedroom. “Hearing that Mr. Hyatt had allegedly assaulted minor victims would make it hard for the jurors in this case to judge him fairly on the allegations that did not involve minors,” the motion reads.
Jeremy’s legal team applied the same argument to the two Jane Does who accused Jeremy of drugging them before sexually assaulting them, such as Jane Doe 10, who alleges that she became ill after Jeremy bought her a drink at the Rainbow and that he later digitally penetrated her on a couch at his friend’s home without her consent. “The implication that Mr. Hyattt drugged or poisioned [the Janes Does] is prejudicial and highly likely to inflame Mr. Hyatt’s jurors,” Jeremy’s attorneys wrote in the motion. “Consequently, those allegations should be severed from the remaining counts.”
In 2017, Rolling Stone published the accounts of nearly a dozen women who alleged that Jeremy had forcibly groped them, digitally penetrated them, or had sexual intercourse with them without their consent.”If anyone was ever made to feel uncomfortable by ANY of our interactions, I’m deeply sorry,” he told Rolling Stone at the time in response to the allegations against him. “That was never my intention and it breaks my heart in half.”
Rolling Stone published the accounts of an additional dozen women with similar allegations against Jeremy after Jeremy was charged in 2020 with having sexually assaulted four women in incidents dating back to 2014. He has continued to deny all charges against him.