Harvey Weinstein faces more sexual assault investigations: US prosecutors

Prosecutors say they are seeking a new indictment against disgraced Hollywood movie producer over sexual assault claims.

Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sits in court
Harvey Weinstein appears in court in New York City on July 9 [Jefferson Siegel/Pool via Reuters]

Prosecutors in the United States have said they anticipate a November retrial for Harvey Weinstein as they investigate “additional violent sexual assaults” they say were committed by the disgraced Hollywood movie producer.

Prosecutor Nicole Blumberg said in a hearing in New York state criminal court in Manhattan on Tuesday that the additional assaults Weinstein is accused of committing were still within the statute of limitations to be charged as crimes.

She told Justice Curtis Farber that prosecutors have not yet brought their findings to a grand jury and said she could not provide the court with a timeline for when their investigation will be complete.

“The people are still investigating in a trauma-informed matter,” Blumberg said. “That is an ongoing process.”

Weinstein was found guilty of rape and sexual assault in 2020 in a milestone for the #MeToo movement, in which women accused hundreds of men in entertainment, media, politics and other fields of sexual misconduct.

More than 80 women had come forward to accuse Weinstein of crimes and sexual misconduct.

A jury in February 2020 found the 72-year-old Miramax film studio co-founder sexually assaulted former production assistant Miriam Haley in 2006 and raped aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013.

He was sentenced to 23 years in prison, but the New York Court of Appeals in April found that Judge James Burke, who presided over the trial, made a critical mistake by allowing three women to testify about alleged sexual assaults by Weinstein that were not part of the criminal charges against him.

The court said that testimony about “prior bad acts” violated Weinstein’s right to a fair trial.

Weinstein has denied having non-consensual encounters with anyone.

During Tuesday’s court hearing, his lawyer Arthur Aidala said it was unfair for prosecutors to seek to add additional victims to the case after the conviction was overturned and suggested the investigation was a delay tactic from prosecutors.

Weinstein is suffering from a host of medical problems while being held in solitary confinement at New York City’s Rikers Island jail, Aidala said.

“Once again, we have the individual and we’re looking for a crime,” he told the court. “We’ve got the ‘1-800-Get-Harvey’ hotline.”

Blumberg responded that the office is actively pursuing claims of rape that occurred in Manhattan within the statute of limitations.

She said some potential survivors that were not ready to step forward during Weinstein’s first New York trial may have indicated they are now willing to testify.

“There’s certainly no delay tactics on our part,” the prosecutor said. “We’re proceeding in the most expeditious manner.”

She said the prosecution’s plan is to proceed to trial in the fall, telling the judge, “November would be a realistic timeframe.”

The next pre-trial hearing was set for July 19.

Source: News Agencies