Sentencing in the Los Angeles rape trial of Harvey Weinstein was postponed Monday, as defense lawyers were granted a continuance after indicating that they plan seek a new trial.
Judge Lisa Lench granted the request by defense attorney Mark Werksman at the hearing that was set when the disgraced producer was convicted last month on three of seven counts. Lench said she had received the request “to continue for the purpose of filing a new trial motion.”
Lench gave Werksman until Jan. 31 to file for a new trial, and the prosecution will have until Feb. 14 to respond. A new sentencing hearing was then set for Feb. 23, which will go forward unless a new trial is granted.
Weinstein was in court in a wheelchair, wearing his brown LA County prison outfit. After the hearing was over, Werksman said he wasn’t ready to discuss the reasons for the new-trial request, but that they would be revealed in the motion.
Prosecutor Paul Thompson, meanwhile, said he was also unaware of why the defense was requesting a new trial. He said the District Attorney’s office had not yet determined whether to try Weinstein on charges for which the jury was hung.
Weinstein was found guilty Dec. 19 of three felony counts including forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and forcible penetration by a foreign object, but the Los Angeles jury was hung on three other counts – including allegations brought by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The jury found the disgraced movie mogul not guilty on the remaining charge.
Weinstein is already serving 23 years in a New York prison for criminal first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape, a conviction he has been granted the right to appeal. He had faced an additional 60 years in a California prison had the jury convicted him on all seven counts, but with the split verdict, he now faces between 18 and 24 years, which are likely to be served concurrently with his existing sentence in New York state.
This story is developing …