Harvey Weinstein’s sexual-assault trial in Manhattan is currently scheduled for May 6, his lawyers said in court papers filed Monday.
This news of a potential trial date in Weinstein’s sexual-assault case, in which he faces five counts for allegedly nonconsensual encounters with two women, comes slightly more than two weeks after the judge overseeing the case rejected his push for dismissal.
During a brief court proceeding on December 20 where Justice James Burke made this decision, a pretrial conference was also scheduled for March 7. At the time, there was no mention of a trial date.
Shortly after Burke issued this decision, Weinstein lawyer Ben Brafman said “I think we will fairly soon” in reference to going to trial.
“We intend to vigorously defend this case to the best of our ability. We remain confident despite the court’s ruling today, that ultimately at a trial of this case Mr. Weinstein will be completely exonerated,” said Brafman, who’s representing him in the criminal proceeding.
When asked about the date, a spokesman for the New York State courts said “an early May trial date has been discussed, however it is tentative and unofficial.”
The May 6 trial date was released in filings for several Manhattan Federal Court civil lawsuits against Weinstein released Monday night.
Weinstein wants a Manhattan Federal Court judge to put these lawsuits on hold until the conclusion of his criminal case, maintaining that information revealed in litigation could damage his chance for a fair criminal trial.
“Not only is Mr. Weinstein under indictment, his trial is scheduled for May 6, 2019. Mr. Weinstein and his counsel will be fully engaged in preparing for what will be a closely watched trial that will last six weeks from jury selection through verdict,” his civil lawyers wrote in a Manhattan Federal Court filing. “It would be an overwhelming burden for Mr. Weinstein to have to litigate this case at great risk to his right against self-incrimination and at the expense of his time and efforts to prepare for criminal trial.”
While these lawyers did give a specific date, court dates are routinely postponed and rescheduled, meaning there is absolutely no guarantee Weinstein will go before a jury this spring.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the date, saying “unfortunately we’re not authorized by the court to confirm this at this time.”
While Weinstein is fighting his criminal case and these civil lawsuits, he’s also having to battle several insurers who don’t want to pay his legal fees.
In a lawsuit with Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, Weinstein accused the insurer of wrongly refusing to fork over money.
“Mr. Weinstein has suffered from Travelers’ improper decisions,” Weinstein’s lawyers wrote in a December 7 Manhattan Supreme Court filing. “He has been forced to fend for himself in defending against the Underlying Claims.”
“Notably, while Mr. Weinstein has been marshaling his own personal resources to defend against the Underlying Claims, Travelers ran to this Court to sue him — this time declaration of noncoverage,” Weinstein’s lawyers also maintained. “In other words, Travelers abandoned any pretense of fair claims processing and, instead, refocused its energies on miring Mr. Weinstein in a coverage battle in New York …”
Weinstein also said in this filing that after numerous women came forward with allegations of sexual impropriety and assault against him, “overnight, Mr. Weinstein became a pariah. His denials of liability became background noise, lost in the international uproar that followed.”
“Hollywood also turned its back” on him, he claimed.
Manhattan prosecutors had initially accused Weinstein of forced encounters with three women: Lucia Evans, Mimi Haleyi, and an unidentified third woman.
By July, they had hit him with charges of rape in the first and third degrees, two counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
The count related to Evans was dropped after prosecutors revealed that a witness statement undermined her allegation that Weinstein forced her into oral sex in 2004.
Prosecutors also revealed that the main detective on the case at the time, Nicholas DiGaudio, kept this information from them.