Harvey Weinstein Appears In Court On Rape Charges

Harvey Weinstein Shuffles Legal Team Ahead Of Sexual Assault Trial

Andrea Macdonald - Author

Jul. 11 2019, Updated 1:00 p.m. ET

Disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein was in court on Thursday looking for approval to switch up his legal team again, a mere 60 days before he is set to stand trial in New York.

This is the second time the former movie producer has shuffled his defense team since being charged in 2018 for rape and sexual assault.

Judge James Burke allowed lawyer Jose Baez to bow out after claims that he and his client couldn’t get along.

According to The Associated Press, the lawyer was asked outside court if he was off the legal team.

“Yup. I feel like I won the lottery. Just kidding,” Baez responded.

Baez is known for representing Casey Anthony, the woman who was dubbed “America’s most hated mom” after being accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony, in 2008.

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Baez wrote a letter to Burke in June detailing how Weinstein tarnished their relationship by communicating only through other lawyers and by failing to abide by a fee agreement.

“Mr. Weinstein has engaged in behavior that makes this representation unreasonably difficult to carry out effectively and has insisted upon taking actions with which I have fundamental disagreements,” Baez wrote in the letter.

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The first shuffle came when lawyer Ronald Sullivan left in May after he said the case will conflict with his teaching responsibilities as a Harvard law professor, according to CNN.

The two new additions to the team, Damon Cheronis and Donna Rotunno from Chicago, will join Arthur Aidala and Marianne Bertuna.

The new legal team has promised the judge that they won’t seek to delay the trial any further. It is currently scheduled to begin September 9.

Rotunno has been no shrinking violet when it comes to her opinion on the #MeToo movement.

The lawyer told The Wall Street Journal that the movement is overblown and the accusers should be “responsible for the choices they make.”

“I chose to represent Harvey Weinstein because I think these are the types of cases that lawyers that do what I do live for,” said Rotunno after Thursday’s hearing.

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“I believe that the facts and evidence in this case are actually very favorable to Mr. Weinstein.”

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The former movie producer pleaded not guilty to five counts of rape and sexual assault involving two different women, Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and an unidentified woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013.

If Weinstein is convicted, he could face life in prison.

Once the movement gained traction, 60 other women came forward with sexual assault accusations, including Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ashley Judd.


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