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Weinstein judge won't step aside over texting comments

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Jury selection begins in Harvey Weinstein trial 07:40

Harvey Weinstein was back in court Wednesday for the second day of jury selection in his rape trial, which kicked off in New York City on Monday. The disgraced media mogul is charged in New York with raping a woman in 2013 in a hotel in Manhattan and forcibly performing a sex act on another in 2006. He has pleaded not guilty and denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.

While the trial focuses on the two women, some of the dozens of others who have accused the 67-year-old of sexual misconduct are expected to testify. It's not yet clear how many women will testify.  

Weinstein faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted. He turned himself in to face the charges in New York in May 2018 and has been out on bail.

More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, fueling the rise of the #MeToo movement.  


Weinstein judge won't step aside over texting comments

Weinstein's lawyers asked Judge James Burke to recuse himself Wednesday, a day after he threatened to jail Weinstein for texting in the courtroom. 

Burke scolded Weinstein as jury selection was getting underway Tuesday, saying: "Mr. Weinstein, I could not implore you more to not answer the following question: is this really the way you want to end up in jail for the rest of your life, by texting in violation of an order? Is it?"

The defense called the comments "prejudicial and inflammatory," saying the reprimand reflects the "court's animus" toward their client. 

The defense further argued that Burke has failed to adequately safeguard Weinstein's right to a fair and impartial jury, in part by rejecting a request to halt jury selection for a "cooling off" period after prosecutors in L.A. filed new charges. They demanded the trial be stopped until negative publicity from the new charges dissipates.  

Burke denied the request on Thursday.

-Reporting by Cassandra Gauthier and The Associated Press 

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin

Allred: "My sense is they fear me"

Attorney Gloria Allred spoke to reporters Wednesday about the defense's unsuccessful attempt to bar her from the trial.

"You'll have to ask the defense, but my sense is they fear me," Allred said.

Allred said she planned to be in court for opening statements and when her clients took the stand. Court was later dismissed for the day, at 1 p.m., with 30 people invited back next week for additional questioning. In all, 66 prospective jurors have advanced to the next stage of the jury selection process.

Some of the 120 prospective jurors who filed into the courtroom Wednesday morning were dismissed because they said they couldn't be impartial. One woman said she had been assaulted and felt she wouldn't be a fair juror.

 Another woman said, "I have a very close friend who had an encounter with the defendant."  

-Reporting by Cassandra Gauthier and The Associated Press


Defense attorney asks judge to ban lawyer Gloria Allred

On Wednesday, a defense attorney asked Judge James Burke to ban lawyer Gloria Allred from Weinstein's trial. 

Allred is representing some of Weinstein's accusers and is expected to be subpoenaed by the defense. Defense attorney Damon Cheronis said he was "not trying to attack" Allred, simply "trying to protect" Weinstein's right to a fair trial.

Burke denied the request, saying Allred "may remain in the courtroom" and will certainly be on the witness list. It's not clear whether she will testify. Her clients include Mimi Haleyi, the alleged sexual assault victim in the New York City case, and Annabella Sciorra, a key prosecution witness.

-Reporting by Cassandra Gauthier and The Associated Press


Weinstein back in court

Harvey Weinstein was back in court Wednesday as another pool of prospective jurors was expected to be questioned. Weinstein, who is 67 and recovering from a back surgery, stumbled slightly and grabbed a handrail as he walked up stairs into the courthouse.

On Tuesday, 36 out of an initial group of 120 potential jurors were given questionnaires and told to report back to court January 16 for further questioning. The group was narrowed down after the judge dismissed those who said they couldn't be impartial or had conflicts. A similar process is expected during the remainder of the jury selection process, which will last about two weeks.

-Reporting by Cassandra Gauthier and The Associated Press


Court adjourns for the day

Court adjourned for the day at 3:08 p.m.

About 120 potential jurors were questioned in total Tuesday, and of those, 36 received juror questionnaires and were told to report back to court on January 16. Those dismissed on Tuesday included 43 people who said they couldn't be impartial, and another 41 who had conflicts. Burke said many of those are full-time students.

Jury selection was expected to continue on Wednesday.

-Reporting by Cassandra Gauthier   


More than 40 prospective jurors dismissed

More than 40 prospective jurors said they can't be impartial and were dismissed as of early Tuesday afternoon. 

The judge said it was going to be a high-profile case and asked if anyone couldn't be impartial. That was when about 40 hands went up.

-Reporting by Cassandra Gauthier and The Associated Press


Judge scolds Weinstein for using a cellphone

Judge James Burke raised his voice and admonished the defendant and his legal team Tuesday, including defense attorney Arthur Aidala, over Weinstein's use of a cellphone. He said he never wants to see a cellphone in Weinstein's hand.

When Weinstein began to speak, Burke told him to be silent. He asked Weinstien if this is how he wants to "end up in jail," "by texting and violating a court order."

Burke said he was not looking for apologies, but for compliance.

The order of the day Tuesday is to begin the process of choosing 12 jurors and six alternates. About 500 prospective jurors could be questioned in total. The jury selection process is expected to take about two weeks.

-Reporting by Cassandra Gauthier

Harvey Weinstein Trial Continues In New York
Harvey Weinstein leaves the courtroom at New York City criminal court during his sex crimes trial on January 7, 2020 in New York City.  Stephanie Keith/Getty Images


New L.A. charges could have "powerful" impact on New York trial

Weinstein is facing four new sex crime charges in Los Angeles that are based on a rape accusation from one woman and a sexual assault allegation from another. The separate incidents allegedly took place over a two-day period in 2013. 

New York Times correspondent and CBS News contributor Jodi Kantor, who won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking the news about Weinstein, said the new charges are "an incredibly dramatic development."

"Weinstein is essentially now fighting charges on two fronts," Kantor told "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday. "The prosecutors are basically accusing him of hurting women day after day in L.A. And, remember that as jury selection starts in New York, the New York jury may know about what he's accused of doing in Los Angeles."

Kantor said the two cases could affect each other in unpredictable ways.

"First of all, there's a woman who's involved in both cases," Kantor said. "There are only two women at the basis of the New York charges, but the prosecutors can call other witnesses. One of those witnesses is also at the center of the L.A. allegations."

Showing a pattern with the other witnesses' testimony could be devastating for Weinstein's case, Kantor said.

"The nature of the Harvey Weinstein allegations is these women who are strangers to one another, who didn't know each other, they're telling very similar stories about the same man over and over again," Kantor said. "That's really powerful." 

But, according to Kantor, Weinstein's defense team does have at least one thing on their side.

"The jury has to be unanimous to convict," Kantor said. "When is the last time that 12 people you know agreed on these really complicated matters about sex and power? So they may be able to create some doubt about exactly what happened and about consent in the jury's mind."

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