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Weinstein to appear in court as lawyers bid to get charges dismissed

World News | Published:

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to assaulting three women.

Harvey Weinstein is to appear before a New York judge as his lawyers try to get criminal charges against him thrown out.

Judge James Burke is expected to issue rulings on defence motions seeking to dismiss some or all of a six-count indictment accusing Weinstein of rape and sexual assault.

The Hollywood producer’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, has said that prosecutors withheld evidence that would have made the grand jury think twice about charging him, such as friendly emails one accuser sent after the alleged rape.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail.

The hearing comes a year and a day after The New Yorker first published allegations by one accuser in the case, Lucia Evans.

In the story, Ms Evans accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her when they met alone in his office in 2004 to discuss her fledgling acting career. At the time, she was a 21-year-old college student.

Weinstein’s lawyers and prosecutors have been wrangling over the part of the indictment pertaining to Evans’s allegations over the last few weeks in closed-door meetings.

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Weinstein’s legal team argued in court papers that prosecutors had not properly identified the day on which Ms Evans alleged she had been assaulted. She told interviewers only that it had happened over the summer months between semesters at school.

Ms Evans’s lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, insisted the case was strong.

“We know of no evidence refuting our client’s report that Harvey Weinstein forcefully sexually assaulted her,” she said.

While more than 75 women have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct over the past year, the criminal case in New York City involves the allegations of just three women – Evans, an unidentified woman who says he raped her in a hotel room in 2013, and an actress who said Weinstein attacked her in 2006.

The New York City Police Department said it “remains fully confident in the overall case it has pursued against Mr. Weinstein The evidence shows that the criminal case against him is strong.”

Mr Brafman has called the charges against Weinstein a product of political pressure amid the #MeToo outcry.

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