Harvey Weinstein facing investigation over ‘additional violent sexual assaults’

US

Harvey Weinstein is facing an investigation over “additional violent sexual assaults,” prosecutors in New York say.

Speaking at a hearing in New York state criminal court in Manhattan on Tuesday, prosecutor Nicole Blumberg said they will seek a new indictment, adding the additional assaults allegedly committed in Manhattan were still within the statute of limitations to be charged as crimes.

The 72-year-old film producer’s landmark 2020 New York conviction saw him handed a 23-year prison sentence and kickstarted a global #MeToo movement – but in April it was overturned by the state’s highest court.

A retrial is yet to be announced.

It was ruled the original hearing had been prejudiced by “egregious” improper rulings by the judge, including a decision to let women testify about allegations that were not part of the case, violating his right to a fair trial.

Weinstein has denied having non-consensual encounters with anyone.

Speaking on Tuesday, Weinstein’s lawyer Arthur Aidala said it was unfair for prosecutors to seek to add additional victims to the case after the conviction was overturned.

He added: “Once again we have a hotline: ‘1-800 Get Harvey”.

Mr Aidala accused the prosecution of using delay tactics to keep Weinstein behind bars. Ms Blumberg denied that was the case, saying: “As we said in 2020, there were women who were not ready to proceed with the legal process. Some of those women are now ready to proceed”.

Weinstein has remained in jail because he was also convicted in Los Angeles in 2022 of another rape, for which he was sentenced to 16 years in prison. He is also appealing against this conviction.

Just days after the ruling was overturned, Weinstein was taken to hospital, with his lawyer describing him as “somewhat of a train wreck health-wise” but still “sharp as a tack” mentally.

Mimi Haley's lawyer Gloria Allred holding a sign before speaking to reporters outside court. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

Weinstein has had cardiac issues, diabetes, sleep apnoea and eye problems for some time, and was “in constant pain”, according to Mr Aidala.

Weinstein is currently being held in solitary confinement at New York City’s Rikers Island jail.

His now-overturned 2020 conviction was a milestone for the #MeToo movement, in which women accused
hundreds of men in entertainment, media, politics and other fields of sexual misconduct.

Once considered the most powerful man in Hollywood – producing hit movies including Shakespeare In Love and Pulp Fiction – Weinstein has admitted his past behaviour “caused a lot of pain”, but has maintained his innocence throughout, saying any sexual activity was consensual.

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