Harvey Weinstein is set to (finally) stand trial for rape and sexual assault charges in Manhattan next month, but his attorneys are still trying to net him some sort of Hail Mary pass. Their current maneuver: arguing the trial should be moved out of New York, citing juror bias.
“It is safe to say that New York City is the least likely place on earth where Mr. Weinstein could receive a fair trial, where jurors could hear evidence, deliberate, and render a verdict in an atmosphere free of intimidation from pressure to deliver a result that the politicians, the activists, the celebrities and the media demand,” reads an August 16 Hail Mary filing by Weinstein’s defense team in the Empire State’s appellate courts.
Apparently, Weinstein’s defense plans to ask the judge presiding over his case to move the much-delayed trial to Long Island’s Suffolk County or to Albany at the next hearing, scheduled for August 26. It seems extremely unlikely that this motion will pass—the Wall Street Journal, which also reported on the move effort, says judges rarely agree to relocate trials.
And though it’s true that Weinstein’s grotesque predatory behavior and legal woes have been widely publicized over the last few years, famous people stand trial all the time, and in Weinstein’s case they plan to select from an even larger jury pool than usual. New York state court officials also say they’ll be beefing up security at the courthouse.
To recap, Weinstein, who was arrested in May 2018, faces two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of committing a first degree criminal sexual act, and one count each of both first-degree rape and third-degree rape. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.