Judge Dismisses One Count Against Harvey Weinstein

CNN Newsource

A judge Thursday dismissed one of the 11 sex-related counts against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, whose attorneys contended that the charge was barred by the statute of limitations.

The charge — which alleged sexual battery by restraint against a woman in May 2010 — was the only count involving one of the five alleged victims, leaving four alleged victims each referred to as a “Jane Doe” in the indictment handed up in March.

“Mr. Weinstein faces very serious charges. Ten of the 11 counts stand,” Alex Bastian, special adviser to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, said in a statement released by the District Attorney’s Office. “We are taking appropriate steps so that justice prevails in this case.”

At a hearing last month, Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench sustained the defense’s challenge to that count, but agreed to Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson’s request to amend the indictment.

“We believe that it will never succeed,” one of Weinstein’s attorneys, Mark Werksman, said of the charge after Thursday’s hearing, in which the judge agreed to sustain the defense’s latest challenge.

The defense lawyer said the prosecution “cannot breathe life into a charge that’s already barred by the statute of limitations.”

Last month, Weinstein’s defense team unsuccessfully challenged two other counts — forcible oral copulation and forcible rape involving another alleged victim between September 2004 and September 2005.

Weinstein, 69, was extradited July 20 from New York, where he has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for raping an aspiring actress and a criminal sex act against a former production assistant.

He was brought into a downtown Los Angeles courtroom in a wheelchair a day later, with one of his attorneys entering a not guilty plea on his behalf. He remains jailed without bail.

Weinstein’s legal team had tried to block his transfer from New York to Los Angeles until he was “medically fit” to be moved. A court document filed in Los Angeles by the defense contended that Weinstein was in “urgent need of medical treatment to save his eyesight, and that this treatment could take anywhere from 24 to 36 months.” The defense had also asked a judge in Los Angeles to delay the transfer until Weinstein’s medical treatment is completed.

Los Angeles County prosecutors initially charged Weinstein in January 2020 with forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by use of force involving one woman on Feb. 18, 2013, and sexual battery by restraint involving another woman a day later.

He was subsequently charged in April 2020 with sexual battery by restraint — one of the counts challenged by the defense — involving a woman in May 2010. In November 2020, prosecutors added six more counts — three counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation — involving two alleged victims in Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2010.

A grand jury subsequently indicted Weinstein on the same charges.

Weinstein is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Sept. 13.

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