Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to two new sexual assault charges in New York; trial delayed to 2020
Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to two new counts of sexual assault in New York City on Monday after prosecutors in Manhattan sought to introduce a new accuser to the case just weeks before the disgraced mogul’s criminal trial was set to begin.
Weinstein’s trial date had been set for Sept. 9. But after prosecutors presented a new indictment containing two new allegations of predatory sexual assault, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge James Burke pushed the trial date back to Jan. 6, 2020.
The new charges stem from an alleged assault carried out in 1993 against Annabella Sciorra, an actress best known for her appearances in “The Sopranos.” Court documents made public Monday also revealed that a woman who accused Weinstein of assaulting her in a Beverly Hills hotel in 2013 will testify at his criminal trial.
Earlier this month, Burke blocked prosecutors’ attempt to include an allegation that Weinstein had committed rape in 1993 to the current criminal case, noting that evidence had not been presented to the grand jury that indicted Weinstein on charges of predatory sexual assault and rape last year.
As a result, prosecutors re-presented their case to a grand jury this month, leading to the new indictment. Weinstein was originally facing two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of a criminal sexual act in the first degree, one count of rape in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree.
In court documents made public Monday, prosecutors said that the assault took place in “the winter season spanning 1993-1994" inside a Gramercy Park apartment.
Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lead defense attorney, said Monday that prosecutors introduced the new charges at the “eleventh hour” knowing they would prompt a delay in the case.
“They full well knew that this was going to cause a delay. So this delay is on them,” she said. “We were fully ready to go to trial on Sept. 9.”
Weinstein has repeatedly insisted he is innocent and pleaded not guilty to existing charges. He was first arrested in May 2018.
Gloria Allred, who is representing Sciorra, told reporters Monday that she commended her client’s bravery to “take the stand and answer questions under oath.”
“She has been willing to do that and share her truth even though she could anticipate a vigorous cross-examination by the defense,” said Allred, who is also representing another victim in the New York case, whose identity remains unknown.
Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by more than 80 women in New York, California and London.
Earlier this month, it was revealed in court papers that Burke had granted a motion to allow the prosecution to call some of those accusers to testify at trial. They include a woman who claims that Weinstein assaulted her at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2013, and women who say that the mogul attacked them in New York in 2004 and 2005, according to filings made public Monday.
Rotunno downplayed the significance of the decision Monday, noting that if prosecutors truly believed in the strength of those cases “they would have charged him with those crimes.”
The identities of those witnesses were redacted in the court documents. In October 2017, a Italian actress and model told The Times Weinstein had “bullied” his way into her hotel room at Mr. C’s in Beverly Hills in February 2013 and assaulted her after he briefly spoke with her at the Los Angeles Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest.
She reported the assault to the LAPD years later and that case has been presented to Los Angeles County prosecutors. The woman spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity in 2017 because she was making an allegation of sexual assault.
But the witness described in the documents made public Monday is a different person, who made a similar allegation about Weinstein regarding an incident that took place in the same time frame in Beverly Hills, according to David Ring, an attorney for the Italian actress.
According to a source familiar with the investigation, the victim described in court documents in New York on Monday contacted the NYPD about a separate alleged incident of sexual assault involving Weinstein and a Beverly Hills hotel. The date of the alleged attack was Feb. 19, 2013, according to court filings.
The NYPD referred the case to Beverly Hills police for investigation, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matter candidly.
Beverly Hills police have declined to make public any details of their investigations into Weinstein. Police in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills have presented several cases involving Weinstein to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, but charging decisions have yet to be made.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.