An appeals court denied Harvey Weinstein’s bid to transfer his sexual assault case out of Manhattan on Thursday.
Weinstein’s attorneys had sought to move the case to Albany or Suffolk County, on Long Island, citing the “circus-like” media atmosphere in Manhattan.
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“It is ordered that the motion is denied in its entirety,” the appellate court ruled, without elaboration.
Weinstein is set to go on trial on Jan. 6 on five charges, including rape and sexual assault. His attorneys asked the appellate court in August to move the case, arguing that a Manhattan jury will be prejudiced by relentless media coverage. The motion cited 11,000 mentions of Weinstein in the New York Post’s Page Six, as well as TV documentaries and coverage in other New York media.
“The reporting has gone beyond the allegations to demonize Mr. Weinstein as a monstrous person devoid of any redeeming characteristic save for his talent for making movies,” the motion stated. “This ad hominum (sic) reporting has been overwrought, uniformly derogatory, and, sadly, unrelenting.”
The motion was given little chance of success, but it could be brought up as an issue on appeal.
The Manhattan D.A.’s office opposed the request, and noted that the defense team has contributed to the heightened media attention on the case by speaking to the press. The D.A. argued that prospective jurors will be questioned on their exposure to media coverage of the case, and noted that jurors on Long Island or in Albany would be exposed to the same media coverage as jurors in Manhattan.
The D.A.’s office and Weinstein’s team each declined to comment on the appeals court’s ruling.
Prosecutors obtained a superseding indictment against Weinstein in August, in order to allow actress Annabella Sciorra to testify against the producer. That move delayed the trial, which was supposed to begin on Sept. 9, to give the defense additional time to challenge the new indictment.