Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein on Monday pled not guilty to two new charges of predatory sexual assault in a New York state court.
The new charges follow legal wrangling over the testimony of actress Annabella Sciorra, who has claimed that Weinstein raped her in her Manhattan apartment in 1993 or 1994, after she starred in one of his movies. Sciorra’s case is too old to be prosecuted, but prosecutors intend to present her testimony to the jury in order to add to the picture they’re attempting to paint of Weinstein as a serial sexual offender.
“She has been willing to testify because she feels that it is in the interest of justice,” said Gloria Allred, who is representing Sciorra. “Why are they so afraid of having additional witnesses testify?”
Court documents filed Monday also revealed that Judge James Burke has approved three other witnesses who, like Sciorra, will be allowed to testify against Weinstein despite their allegations’ falling outside the statute of limitations.
Weinstein’s trial, which had been scheduled for September 9, has been delayed until early next year as a result of the fresh indictment.
“I think the case itself is weak,” said Donna Rotunno, part of Weinstein’s defense team, who called the new indictment “desperate” and an “eleventh-hour maneuver” and said the case has become surrounded by a “circus-like atmosphere.”
“Today was a good day for Mr. Weinstein,” Rotunno said, adding that the defense would ask that the new indictment be dismissed.
The former heavyweight movie producer, 67, has pled not guilty to charges related to two other charges of sexually assault, one involving a woman in 2006 and one involving another woman in 2013.