LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Defense attorneys for disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein have asked a judge to seal the grand jury transcripts and exhibits, contending their release could prejudice his right to a fair trial on sex-related charges involving five women.
“Few cases in recent history have garnered the amount and intensity of press attention, public scrutiny and heightened media frenzy as the instant case,” Weinstein’s attorneys wrote in a court filing Thursday. “From the moment that allegations were first made against Mr. Weinstein, and before charges were ever filed in either New York or California, the media blitz around the case worked to quickly make Mr. Weinstein’s name virtually synonymous with wrongdoing and abuse.”
The defense claims the grand jury transcripts and exhibits contain “highly personal and invasive details about Mr. Weinstein’s medical and psychological history, and even intimate details about his physical body and anatomy” and further alleges that “heightened focus and scrutiny while the community is already inundated and saturated with news about this case will further prejudice Mr. Weinstein by making it that much more difficult to find impartial jurors.”
Weinstein, 69, was extradited July 20 to Los Angeles from New York, where he has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for raping an aspiring actress and a criminal sex act against a former production assistant.
Weinstein plead not guilty to the charges including four counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force the day after his extradition.
At a Thursday hearing, a judge rejected the defense’s bid to dismiss two of the charges against Weinstein, but agreed to allow the prosecution the opportunity to amend a third count challenged by the defense.
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