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Sex Crimes Trial of Harvey Weinstein Delayed Until September

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The sex crimes trial of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been postponed from June 3 to September 9.

Judge James Burke kept the media and public out of Friday’s court appearance, responding to the request of both prosecutors and defense attorneys. The judge tossed newsmen and curious outsiders. Prosecutors made their case that still more accusers be given the opportunity to testify.

The allegations against Weinstein to be discussed at the hearing are “highly inflammatory”, Burke said, “and letting the public in would “result in a violation of both the defendant’s right to an impartial jury panel and his right to a fair trial,” reported The Guardian. “The publication of this information at this time would serve no purpose other than to arouse negative public sentiment toward the defendant,” he said, adding it would have a “devastating effect” on Weinstein’s ability to get a fair trial.”

Nearly 90 women have insisted that Weinstein was guilty of sexual misconduct. Reporters reportedly lobbied for the hearing to be conducted in the open, arguing that the case against Weinstein has been made so publicly already that no harm could be done.

“This criminal case is a matter of immense and legitimate public interest,” said attorney Robert Balin, speaking on behalf of no fewer than 14 news organizations.

“Simply put, Weinstein is the focal point of the #MeToo movement and the alleged ‘bad acts and uncharged crimes’ at issue here have been indelibly burned into the public consciousness already,” Balin wrote. “As such, the Parties are unable to demonstrate (as they must) that there is a substantial probability that the repetition of this widely known information in open court will have a meaningful effect on the opinions of potential jurors or otherwise prejudice Weinstein’s right to a fair trial.”

According to Variety, the prosecution has filed sealed motions “to allow testimony from “Sandoval” and “Molyneux” witnesses. In New York, the “Molyneux rule” allows prosecutors to introduce evidence of uncharged conduct if it helps establish a pattern of behavior. Under People v. Sandoval, the prosecution may introduce such testimony to undermine a defendant’s credibility, should the defendant choose to testify.”

Weinstein’s attorney, Jose Baez, told the news media that he viewed the delay as supportive of a defense keen designed to discredit accusers, and prove that any encounters were consensual. “We had a very good day in court today. We’re glad that the trial got back to September,” Baez told reporters. “This is going to give us an ample opportunity to dig into the case.”

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