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Harvey Weinstein Hires Former Casey Anthony Lawyer To Lead Defense Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has hired the former attorney for Casey Anthony to replace his defense team in his criminal case involving sexual assault charges in New York City.

"I can confirm that I along with Harvard Law Professor Ronald S. Sullivan have been retained by Harvey Weinstein," said attorney Jose Baez on Wednesday. "Mr. Weinstein steadfastly maintains his innocence in this matter and we are looking forward to assisting Mr. Weinstein in his defense."

Baez was the lead attorney for Anthony when she was accused in the death of her daughter, Caylee Anthony, in 2008. Anthony was found not guilty on all murder, manslaughter and abuse charges, thought a jury found her guilty on obstruction charges.

Baez also represented Aaron Hernandez during the NFL football player's appeals against a 2012 murder conviction that was later overturned. Hernandez killed himself while serving a life sentence for another murder conviction.

Last week Weinstein's defense attorney Benjamin Brafman reportedly planned to withdraw from representing his client who faces five felony charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty.

The case hasn't been completely smooth for either side. In October, one of Weinstein's six felony charges was dismissed after an NYPD officer was found to have mishandled evidence.

Weinstein's petition to dismiss the remaining charges was declined in December.

Brafman is one of New York's most prominent criminal defense attorneys. His past clients include Martin Shkreli, Plaxico Burress, Sean Combs and Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

In a series of interviews for a profile by Esquire, Brafman spoke about representing Weinstein.

"I've spent forty years trying to get to the top of my profession, and this is the most high-profile case in the United States," Brafman said. "It's flattering to be picked by someone like him."

Brafman also addressed how the #MeToo movement has impacted Weinstein's high-profile case and others.

"One day it's Charlie Rose. Then it's Kevin Spacey. Matt Lauer. Les Moonves. Suddenly they have something about Judge Kavanaugh from when he was in high school? Give me a break," Brafman told the magazine. "I have a daughter; I have granddaughters. I'd like them to not have to deal with harassment, discrimination, and an unequal pay scale. But a movement becomes dangerous when it generates the kind of hatred that keeps a person from getting a fair trial."

When speaking to CNN in August, Brafman said it would be "difficult but not impossible" to seat an impartial jury in Weinstein's trial.

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