Weinstein lawyer urges 'biased' judge to step down

Weinstein lawyer urges 'biased' judge to step down

On Tuesday, Judge Burke declined to deny Mr Weinstein bail after prosecutors alleged that he was a flight risk.

When Donna Rotunno agreed to represent former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as lead defense attorney in his NY rape trial, she believed that her gender could prove to be an asset in the courtroom.

"These comments reflect the court's animus towards the defendant", Weinstein's legal team argued in a letter calling for Burke's removal from the case. Burke has not ruled on the request.

On Tuesday, Burke scolded Weinstein, telling him, "I could not implore you more not to 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 a court order?"

On the same day Weinstein's trial began in NY, prosecutors in Los Angeles filed charges against him for rape and sexual assault, which allegedly took place in 2013.

Scores of potential jurors were summoned for a selection process that could take weeks, given the heavy publicity surrounding the case and the way Weinstein has been cast as the chief villain of the MeToo movement. Almost 100 potential jurors have already been dismissed with many claiming they had already decided that Weinstein was guilty.

As per reports, officials are struggling to put together a bench of 12 jurors and six alternates, who are willing to enter the trial with a presumption of innocence, given the long list of cases against Harvey.

The recusal request came during a second day of jury selection that ended with 30 people invited back next week for additional questioning.

In the NY case, Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women, and faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault. The 67-year-old has said any sexual activity was consensual.

As his NY trial was getting underway Monday, Los Angeles prosecutors announced new charges in a separate case against Weinstein.

Mr Weinstein faces five charges and possibly life in prison if convicted.

That challenge was demonstrated Thursday when Burke detected a stir after breaking the news to a new batch of prospective jurors that they were there for the Weinstein case.

"Ms. Allred should not be allowed to sit in court, watch that testimony and share that testimony with her clients", argued one of Weinstein's lawyers, Damon Cheronis.

Gloria Allred arrives at the Manhattan courthouse for the Harvey Weinstein trial.

Judges seldom step aside from cases over such requests, but Weinstein's lawyers could be also making a play to make an issue of Burke's comments and rulings for a possible appeal.

"I read every article and it's gonna be very hard for someone who's been assaulted multiple times", one female potential juror said, explaining why she could not be impartial.

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