Harvey Weinstein under investigation for additional sexual assaults, prosecutor says

By Jack Queen

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Prosecutors are probing "additional violent sexual assaults" they say former Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein committed and intend to seek a new indictment after his previous conviction was overturned, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Nicole Blumberg said in a hearing before Justice Curtis Farber in New York state criminal court in Manhattan that the additional assaults Weinstein allegedly committed were still within the statute of limitations to be charged as crimes.

Weinstein was found guilty on rape allegations in 2020 in a milestone for the #MeToo movement, in which women accused hundreds of men in entertainment, media, politics and other fields of sexual misconduct.

A jury found the 72-year-old Miramax film studio co-foundersexually assaulted former production assistant Miriam Haley in 2006 and raped aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013. They are among more than 80 women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.

He was sentenced to 23 years in prison, but the New York Court of Appeals in April found that Judge James Burke, who presided over the trial, made a critical mistake by allowing three women to testify about alleged sexual assaults by Weinstein that were not part of the criminal charges against him.

The court said that testimony about "prior bad acts" violated his right to a fair trial.

Weinstein has denied having non-consensual encounters with anyone. Arthur Aidala, Weinstein's lawyer, said on Tuesday it was unfair for prosecutors to seek to add additional victims to the case after the conviction was overturned.

"Once again we have a hotline: '1-800 Get Harvey,'" Aidala said in court.

Weinstein is suffering from a host of medical problems while being held in solitary confinement at New York City's Rikers Island jail, Aidala said. He accused prosecutors of using delay tactics to keep Weinstein incarcerated, which Blumberg denied.

"As we said in 2020, there were women who were not ready to proceed with the legal process. Some of those women are now ready to proceed," Blumberg said.

Prosecutors would be ready to try the case in the fall, Blumberg said, but no trial date was set. Weinstein is due back in court on July 19.

Weinstein was also sentenced to 16 years following a separate rape trial in California. That conviction was not affected by the New York court's decision, and he has not begun serving the California sentence.

Miramax's hit movies included "Shakespeare in Love" and "Pulp Fiction." Weinstein's own eponymous film studio filed for bankruptcy in March 2018.

(Reporting by Jack Queen in New YorkEditing by Bill Berkrot)