Harvey Weinstein, the former movie honcho-turned-convicted sex offender, will go on trial in Los Angeles on nearly a dozen sex-crime charges on October 10, a judge ruled Friday.
The hearing to set the trial date took place before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench and lasted less than 30 minutes. Prosecutors and defense attorneys also agreed on a few interim hearings this summer to handle any motions in the case, Weinstein’s lawyer, Mark Werksman, confirmed.
Weinstein, 70, has been in jail in Los Angeles awaiting trial since last summer as his lawyers attempted to get the case dismissed, or the number of accusers allowed to testify about uncharged crimes reduced or eliminated. Those efforts have been largely unsuccessful.
More:UK prosecutors authorize charges against Harvey Weinstein for indecent assault of woman in 1996
Weinstein, the Oscar-winning movie producer whose alleged criminal behavior over years set off the #MeToo movement in October 2017, is facing 11 rape and sexual-assault charges, accused of attacking five women in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills hotels in alleged encounters between 2004 to 2013.
In addition, five other accusers will testify that Weinstein assaulted them in similar alleged encounters, allowing prosecutors to point to a purported pattern of uncharged “prior bad acts,” known as 1108 testimony in California.
Weinstein was convicted of two sex-crimes in 2020 following a weeks-long trial in Manhattan, and was subsequently sentenced to 23 years in prison. He was in a state prison near Buffalo until he was extradited to California in the summer of 2021.
Under a ruling by Judge Lench, LA prosecutors will be allowed to tell the jury about the fact of his New York conviction, which was just upheld by a New York appellate court, but the accuser in that case will not be testifying about it in the in Los Angeles trial.
The Los Angeles charges were announced by the then-district attorney in Los Angeles County on the first day of his New York trial in January 2020.
More:Harvey Weinstein to face 5 extra accusers at LA trial, but not Rose McGowan or Daryl Hannah
The New York conviction was upheld unanimously last week by a five-member state appellate court that concluded his Manhattan trial was fair, despite his lawyers’ argument that prosecutors offered the jury potentially prejudicial testimony from accusers of uncharged crimes, called Molineux testimony in New York .
“We reject defendant’s arguments, and affirm the conviction in all respects,” the 45-page decision said.
The ruling was notable because some members of the panel during a December hearing questioned the role prejudicial evidence played in the Weinstein trial, appearing open to possibly reversing his conviction and ordering a new trial.
Weinstein’s New York lawyers are planning to further appeal the conviction.
Juda Engelmayer, spokesman for Weinstein’s New York legal team, issued a statement to last week saying “we are disappointed and sad for Mr. Weinstein” and “will study every option available.”
Meanwhile, the Crown Prosecution Service in England last week announced prosecutors authorized police there to charge Weinstein with two counts of indecent assault against a woman in London in 1996. Under English law, authorities formally lodge charges against a defendant only after the accused is physically in England.
“This is another example of prosecution-by-ambush, where the authorities announce 26-year-old charges against Mr. Weinstein by anonymous accusers without first giving him a chance to address and rebut the allegations, in an effort to further tar-and -feather him in the public’s eye, “Weinstein’s LA lawyer, Werksman, told.
The status of that pending case – and whether he will be extradited and if that happens before or after the Los Angeles trial – remains murky.
Regardless, it’s irrelevant to the Los Angeles case and did not come up at Friday’s hearing.