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Judge Tosses Count Against Weinstein

Prosecutors might be able to make charge stick by refiling
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 29, 2021 4:20 PM CDT
Judge Tosses Count Against Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein listens Thursday in court in Los Angeles.   (Etienne Laurent/Pool Photo via AP)

(Newser) – A Los Angeles judge on Thursday dismissed one of 11 sexual assault counts against Harvey Weinstein, giving the former movie mogul and convicted rapist a minor and possibly temporary victory. At a hearing with the 69-year-old Weinstein in the courtroom, Judge Lisa Lench agreed with his defense attorneys that a count alleging sexual battery by restraint in May 2010 was too old and outside the statute of limitations, the AP reports. But she gave the prosecution permission to refile the charge in a way that may be allowable, setting up an ongoing fight. 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.

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In Los Angeles, Weinstein was first charged with the now-dismissed count in January 2020, before the statute of limitations had expired. Prosecutors then got an indictment from a grand jury on an identical count six months later, when the time had lapsed. Weinstein's lawyers successfully argued Thursday that the grand jury indictment counted as a new case, making the charge fatally flawed. "No one forced the prosecution to go to the grand jury," Weinstein attorney Alan Jackson said in court. "They chose to enter a new case." Prosecutors argued that it was a continuation of the same case and should be considered what's often called a superseding indictment. Other charges against Weinstein are for even older incidents, but different statutes apply to them.

(Read more Harvey Weinstein stories.)

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