Thu, 23 Sep 2021

Washington [US], July 30 (ANI): Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein won a partial victory in Los Angeles court on Thursday, persuading a judge to dismiss one of the 11 sexual assault charges against him.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, during a hearing with the 69-year-old Weinstein in the courtroom, Judge Lisa B. Lench agreed with his defense attorneys that a count alleging sexual battery by restraint in May of 2010 was too old, and outside the statute of limitations.

But the judge allowed prosecutors the opportunity to amend the indictment and refile it. Lench sided with the prosecution on two other counts that she refused to dismiss, rejecting defense arguments those incidents were also too old.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson told the court that prosecutors would amend the indictment and refile it later on Thursday. Weinstein would then have to be arraigned again, after pleading not guilty on the original indictment last week.

Outside court, Weinstein's attorneys cheered the ruling as a significant win, noting that one of the five accusers has been dismissed from the case. "Count 5 is dead. We're off to a good start," defense attorney Mark Werksman declared.

The said count pertains to an incident at a Beverly Hills hotel room on May 11, 2010. Prosecutors first filed the charge of sexual battery by restraint in April 2020, just within the 10-year deadline under the statute.

The defense argued that when Weinstein was indicted on the same charge this year, that created a new case, with a new case number, and that therefore the statute had expired.

Thompson argued in court that the indictment was not a new case and that it merely superseded the original complaint. He also noted that the language pertaining to the charge in the two documents was identical.

Lench found that the indictment had to include some factual claim indicating why the statute had not expired and that without that, the count had to be dismissed.

Later, as promised, prosecutors amended the disputed count and refiled the indictment with all 11 counts. The amendment added language stating that the count had been charged in April 2020, which was still within the statute of limitations.

Weinstein was wheeled into court, wearing a surgical mask and a brown jail jumpsuit. He did not speak during the hearing, except when he agreed to the next court date, on September 13.

In an email, Werksman said the defense was deciding how best to respond. "We do not believe the prosecutor can resurrect an expired statute of limitations by sheer force of will," he said.

No trial date has been set for Weinstein. More technical fights are likely to come before it begins as his lawyers seek to erode the case against him. They have said the charges are all baseless, old and uncorroborated.

Weinstein pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape and seven other sexual assault counts last week in his first court appearance in the California case. He was extradited from New York, where he is serving a 23-year sentence for convictions of rape and sexual assault.

As per Variety, he is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility. Werksman has said his client was "cautiously optimistic" about the case. (ANI)

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