A New York judge refused to dismiss five charges of sexual assault against disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, despite his lawyers' attempts to argue that the case against him was “irreparably tainted.”
Judge James Burke decided Thursday that the case would proceed to trial, though Weinstein pleaded not guilty. Burke has not confirmed a trial date yet, but Weinstein will reappear in court for a pre-trial hearing on March 7.
Weinstein allegedly raped an unidentified female acquaintance in his hotel room in 2013 and performed forced oral sex on a different woman in 2006. As a result, he was charged with two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, and one count each of rape in the first and third degree.
Weinstein has denied any acts of nonconsensual sex and is free on $1 million bail.
In an attempt to get the charges against him dismissed, Weinstein’s lawyers alleged a New York Police Department detective had intervened in the case by giving advice to one accuser to delete private material from her cellphones before giving them to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Prosecutors said the material had nothing to do with the case and that the woman did not delete anything.
Weinstein’s lawyers also said the grand jury should have seen friendly emails Weinstein exchanged with his two accusers after the alleged attacks.
Burke, however, ruled that Weinstein’s claims of prosecutorial misconduct had “no basis” and denied Weinstein’s request for an evidentiary hearing.
A sixth charge against Weinstein was dropped in October after the Manhattan District Attorney’s office found evidence authorities believed showed one of Weinstein’s accusers had a consensual encounter.
Weinstein’s defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said he remains positive Weinstein will be vindicated through trial.
"Today’s ruling was a technical ruling on the law, and although disappointed, it does not in any way suggest that the case against Mr. Weinstein is going to end badly," Brafman said outside the courthouse. "To the contrary, based on the evidence that I am aware of, I believe that if we proceed to trial, and I think we will fairly soon, I think Mr. Weinstein will be exonerated. "
Cover image: Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Supreme Court, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, in New York. Judge James Burke will decide on the future of his sexual assault case, which has been clouded by allegations that police acted improperly in the investigation that led to his arrest. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)