Former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday to two new charges of predatory sexual assault. Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra claims that Weinstein raped her in 1993, and the new indictment against the 67-year-old lay the foundation for the actress to testify against him in his upcoming trial.
According to CNN, prosecutors filed last-minute court papers that will push the former producer’s trial back to January. Weinstein’s lawyers call the move a “desperate” attempt to build up a weak case on the part of prosecutors, calling it an “11th-hour maneuver” that “raises significant legal issues,” according to Fox News.
Sciorra says that Weinstein assaulted her in her Gramercy Park apartment in 1993, but since the incident was beyond the statute of limitations in New York, the alleged crime couldn’t be prosecuted, according to The New York Times.
Though it can’t be charged as a rape, the new indictment means that Sciorra, who played Gloria Trillo on The Sopranos, can serve as a witness against Weinstein during the trial.
“There (are) absolutely no surprises here, there is nothing new here,” the prosecution said of the new indictment.
#BREAKING: Harvey #Weinstein to be arraigned (again) on new indictment on Monday August 26 after grand jury heard from a new accuser, Soprano’s actress Annabella Sciora, Fox News has learned. #HarveyWeinstein pic.twitter.com/sWnDkNRRe4— Marta Dhanis (@MartaDhanis) August 22, 2019
Weinstein was scolded by the judge for pulling out his cell phone during the proceedings. After receiving a warning that he shouldn’t use his phone again, the disgraced movie mogul began to protest.
“Your honor…” he started, before being cut off.
“It’s a court order. Don’t talk to me. Talk with your lawyers,” the judge said.
The judge also asked Weinstein how he felt about going to trial.
“Mr. Weinstein, do you want to go to trial?”
Weinstein replied to the judge’s question in the negative.
“Not really. Not with this weak case,” he said.
The former producer is already facing five charges of sexual assault brought by multiple women. One unidentified woman says that Weinstein overpowered her and forced himself on her in a hotel room in Manhattan in 2013. Production assistant Mimi Haleyi says that Weinstein forced her down and performed oral sex on her at his New York City apartment in 2006.
He has pled not guilty to all charges and denies any instance of non-consensual sexual activity. Weinstein’s legal team is hoping to move the trial outside of New York City because of the intense public scrutiny and media coverage that the case has drawn. The trial, which was originally scheduled to start September 9, will now begin on January 6.