Harvey Weinstein Demands A New Judge After Being Threatened With Jail Time For Using Cell Phones In Court
Earlier this week, the judge in Harvey Weinstein’s rape and sexual assault trial threatened the disgraced Hollywood producer with jail time if he didn’t put away the two cell phones he was using in the courtroom. And now, Weinstein is demanding a new judge before his trial begins.
According to Page Six , Weinstein’s legal team made the request to remove Justice James Burke from the case via a written motion on the second day of his trial at the Manhattan Supreme Court.
“We write to seek recusal of your honor from this case based on the prejudicial and inflammatory comments made by the court to Mr. Weinstein yesterday morning, which received widespread press attention,” Weinstein’s lawyer Arthur Aidala wrote.
On Tuesday morning, Judge Burke called out Weinstein for texting on his cell phone while he was seated in the gallery and waiting to take his place at the defense table. He told Weinstein that he could not implore him 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?”
Aidala claimed in the motion that Burke’s comments reflect his hostility towards Weinstein, and that was a violation of the conduct rules in the state of New York. In the motion, Weinstein’s legal team also accused Judge Burke of preventing the 67-year-old from having a fair trial because he denied their request for a change of venue.
Weinstein’s lawyers filed the motion at the end of day two of jury selection in the case. The disgraced Hollywood producer is facing charges of predatory sexual assault, criminal sex acts, and rape as a result of allegations from three different women, including former Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra.
If convicted, Weinstein will end up spending the rest of his life in prison. He is also facing more sexual assault charges in the state of California, but that case won’t move forward until his trial in New York is over.
Opening statements in Harvey Weinstein’s case are scheduled to begin on January 22nd.