However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench did agree to approve Weinstein’s request to get his missing teeth fixed.
Lawyers for Weinstein had asked the judge to delay the trial until January owing to the release of the Maria Schrader-directed film, “She Said,” which is based on two journalists at The New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who exposed Weinstein’s history of abuse and sexual misconduct against women.
The film is being produced by Hollywood actor Brad Pitt and is set to be released on Nov. 18.
Weinstein’s attorneys had argued that publicity surrounding the film could prompt prejudice among prospective jurors in the trial.
“There will be pre-release publicity aimed at ginning up a passionate disdain for Harvey Weinstein,” his attorney Mark Werksman told the New York Post. “This isn’t some indie picture that will quietly vanish from the public scene,” Werksman added while noting that Pitt’s involvement in the film could drum up even more publicity.
Werksman doubled down on his comments to the judge on Monday, stating that his client’s case was “unique” and that Weinstein’s “notoriety and his place in our culture at the center of the firestorm which is the #MeToo movement is real,” Rolling Stone reported. “We’re trying to do everything we can to avoid having a trial when there will be a swirl of adverse publicity toward him” that could “cause prospective jurors to form biases,” his attorney added.
No Plans to Wait out New York Appeal
However, Lench denied the request on Monday, noting that while there could well be a lot of publicity surrounding the film, this was unlikely to impact jurors because she is able to screen and instruct them.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a time when there isn’t media coverage with respect to this case, and if I wait until after this movie comes out, then I’m going to be dealing with a jury panel that has potentially seen it. At least I can instruct the jurors not to watch what may be out there,” she said.
Lawyers for Weinstein, in requesting a delay to the trial, had also cited New York’s highest court decision on Weinstein’s appeal of his 2020 rape and sexual assault conviction in Manhattan as another reason for the delay.
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore of the New York State Court of Appeals “granted leave to appeal” on Aug. 19.
“In light of the New York Court of Appeal’s decision to reconsider whether Mr. Weinstein’s case could be reversed, we wanted to postpone his trial here in order to eliminate the horrendous prejudice to him on his trial here in LA,” Werksman told the New York Post.
However, the judge dismissed that argument, stating that she has no plans to wait out the newly-revived New York appeal.
“To try and maneuver around what they may do [in New York] is problematic for me,” she said.
The judge did, however, agree that Weinstein could receive “restorative” dental work to replace missing and rotting teeth ahead of the trial to ensure that “he doesn’t look indigent and unkempt.”
Weinstein, 70, was convicted of sex crimes including third-degree rape and a criminal sexual act in the first degree in February 2020. He was sentenced to 23 years in state prison and extradited to a Los Angeles jail last year where he is currently awaiting trial scheduled for Oct. 7.
Five women have accused him of sexually assaulting them between 2004 and 2013.
Weinstein has claimed he is innocent.