Harvey Weinstein and attorney Benjamin Brafman announced Thursday that the criminal defense attorney will no longer represent the beleaguered producer in his rape case and that a new team of lawyers will be announced next week.
The formal announcement that Weinstein will allow Brafman to inform Judge James Burke that he wants to withdraw as legal counsel comes after sources told The Times the pair differed on strategy for the case, in which the producer is charged with raping two women.
In a joint statement, Weinstein and Brafman said they have “agreed to part ways amicably and Mr. Brafman has agreed to cooperate fully with new counsel for Mr. Weinstein so as to ensure an orderly transition.
“Mr. Weinstein praised Mr. Brafman for his legal work to date and Mr. Brafman reiterated his belief that Mr. Weinstein would be exonerated of the charges that have been filed against him and Brafman personally wished Mr. Weinstein the best of luck as he defends the case and the accusations that Mr. Weinstein has vehemently denied.”
Weinstein intends to introduce his new legal team by early next week, the statement added.
The move will almost certainly delay Weinstein’s trial, which is slated for May. It would likely take a new attorney considerable time to get up to speed on a highly complex case with potentially dozens of witnesses.
Since December, Weinstein has pushed for a more aggressive approach that seeks to undermine not only the two women accusing him of rape but also the dozens of women accusing him of sexually inappropriate conduct over four decades in Hollywood, according to sources familiar with the case.
For Brafman to exit the high-profile proceedings, he will need Burke’s approval.
Last month, the judge rejected a motion by Brafman to dismiss charges of sexual assault against Weinstein.