Harvey Weinstein faces new sexual abuse investigation in New York

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Harvey Weinstein to appear in court on Tuesday

  • Author, Graeme Bakker
  • Role, BBC News, Washington

Harvey Weinstein is being investigated for “additional violent sexual assaults” months after an earlier conviction in New York was overturned, a Manhattan court has heard.

Nicole Blumberg, an assistant district attorney, told Tuesday’s hearing that the alleged attacks fell within the statute of limitations, but she did not say when prosecutors would be ready to file new charges.

The disgraced film mogul, 72, is already facing a new trial after his 2020 conviction for sexual assault and rape was overturned in April as wrongful.

“As we said in 2020, there were women who were not ready to proceed with the legal process. Some of those women are now ready to proceed,” Ms. Blumberg told the hearing on Tuesday.

Weinsteins Attorney Arthur Aidala told the hearing that the new investigations were a delaying tactic, adding: “We have a hotline again: 1-800 Get Harvey.”

Mr Aidala added that his client had been struggling with a series of medical problems while in solitary confinement at New York’s Rikers Island jail.

Weinstein appeared before a judge on Tuesday, his left hand chained to his wheelchair.

Weinstein’s 2020 conviction was pivotal to the #MeToo movement, which has seen women accuse hundreds of men of sexual misconduct in the media.

The founder of film studio Miramax was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexually abusing production assistant Miriam Haley and raping actress Jessica Mann.

However, the New York Court of Appeals ruled in April that evidence about Weinstein’s “prior bad actions,” from three witnesses unrelated to the charges against him, violated the right to a fair trial.

Members of the #MeToo movement called the decision “deeply unjust,” while lawyers for his victims called the decision to retry a “leap backwards” and “tragic.”

A new trial is scheduled to begin after Labor Day on September 2, although no specific date has been set. Ms Blumberg said on Tuesday that it was realistic for prosecutors to appear in court in November.

Weinstein was also sentenced to 16 years in a separate rape trial in California. That sentence was not affected by the New York appeals court decision, and he has not yet begun serving his sentence in California.

More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. He denies all allegations against him.

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