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- Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019
Weinstein to be rearraigned as DA seeks actress' testimony
- NEW YORK (AP)
Prosecutors are bringing a new indictment against Harvey Weinstein in an attempt to bolster their case with testimony from an actress who says he raped her in 1993 .
The disgraced movie mogul is set to be arraigned Monday on the revised charges, which Weinstein's lawyers called an unfair ploy to smear him during his upcoming trial with allegations too old to be prosecuted under New York law.
Prosecutors have said that the new indictment is meant to fix a technical problem with the existing indictment and won't result in additional charges. Nor should it delay Weinstein's trial, which is scheduled to start Sept. 9, they said.
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped a woman in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.
The legal maneuvering has to do with charges accusing Weinstein of predatory sexual assault, which requires prosecutors to show he had a history of past sex crimes against women.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office sought the new indictment after a judge ruled that one of the witnesses prosecutors planned to call to prove he was a predator, the actress, Anabella Sciorra, couldn't testify because she hadn't appeared before the grand jury that handed up the existing indictment.
Sciorra, known for her work on "The Sopranos," alleges Weinstein forced himself inside her Manhattan apartment, threw her on the bed and raped her after she starred in a film for his movie studio in 1993.
Sciorra told the story to The New Yorker in October 2017, but prosecutors said she didn't speak with them until after Weinstein's arrest in May 2018.
New York got rid of its statute of limitations for rape cases, but prosecutors are barred from bringing charges against Weinstein related to Sciorra's allegation because it dates back several years before the law changed.
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Sciorra has made her story public.
Weinstein's lawyers called the prosecutor's decision to schedule a new arraignment "desperate measures" that "indicate more of a focus on obtaining a conviction at all costs than on seeking justice."
Weinstein, who faces maximum sentence of life in prison if he is convicted on all counts, denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex and is free on $1 million bail.
The judge, James Burke, has ruled that other accusers who aren't involved in the criminal case can testify as prosecutors look to show a pattern of misconduct.
Weinstein's lawyers, in an Aug. 14 letter to Burke and prosecutors, called the push for a new indictment an "eleventh hour maneuver" and accused the district attorney's office of "illegal actions."
Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast rejected those allegations, stating in an Aug. 15 reply that Weinstein's lawyers were told of Sciorra's potential testimony in February and only objected to it in June.
Meanwhile, a ruling is expected Monday on Weinstein lawyer Arthur Aidala's longshot motion filed with the New York State appellate court last week seeking to move the trial, possibly to upstate Albany County or Suffolk County on Long Island.
The motion cited the intense media coverage and circuslike atmosphere surrounding Weinstein's past court appearances in Manhattan, even noting that Weinstein's name was mentioned online on the New York Post's gossip column Page Six more than 11,000 times.