Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to predatory sexual assault
Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein on Monday pleaded not guilty in a New York courtroom to two new charges of predatory sexual assault.
The new indictment from Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi adds to the five charges the former media mogul already faces for rape and predatory sexual assault.
After hearing the plea, Judge James Burke asked Weinstein whether he wanted to go to trial, to which he replied: "Not really", to chuckles in the courtroom.
Burke postponed the date for the trial from September 9 to January 6, 2020.
Weinstein's lawyer, Donna Rotunna, dismissed the additional charges as "desperate."
"We're gonna see what the new indictment shows versus what the former indictment shows and then we will make our proper motions. We are going to file motions to dismiss this new indictment. And we believe we will be successful," she added.
The two charges relate to the alleged assault of two other women in 2006 and 2013 but the new indictment also comes with the disclosure that Sopranos star Annabella Sciorra, who has publicly accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her inside her Manhattan apartment in 1993, will be called to testify.
Weinstein cannot be charged for raping the actress because her case falls outside the statute of limitations but prosecutors want to use her testimony to prove the producer had a pattern of assaulting women.
Gloria Allred, attorney for a Weinstein accuser, commanded Sciorra for "her willingness to take the stand and answer questions under oath."
"I think it's important for all witnesses who may have relevant information to be permitted to testify. So my question is why are they (the defence) so afraid of having additional witnesses testify? If they think the prosecution has a weak case then why don't they just let the witnesses testify and the jury can decide if it's a weak or strong case," she added.
The decision by Judge James Burke as to how many other witnesses can testify against Weinstein related to prior bad acts remains sealed and won't be revealed until the trial begins.
Last week Weinstein's attorneys filed a motion for a change of venue with the appellate court arguing he could not get a fair trial in New York City with the intense media coverage.