A Manhattan judge has closed disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault court case to the press and public.
Justice James Burke claimed having an open hearing would be prejudicial to Weinstein, according to a Page Six report published Friday. The pre-trial hearing focuses on whether behavior Weinstein has not been charged for will be admitted for the trial.
View this post on Instagram
COURT APPEARANCE: Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein arrived for a pretrial hearing in New York on charges he raped one woman and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman; Weinstein has plead not guilty to the charges and his trial is scheduled to begin June 3. #court #trial #hearing #judge #charges #movie #mogul #worldnewstonight
The judge will also decide if prosecutors can call accusers to testify against Weinstein to show a pattern of behavior. Weinstein has been accused of forcing production assistant Mimi Haleyi to perform oral sex, and raping a former lover.
The justice claimed that opening the hearing to the public would expose the press and potential jurors to “inflammatory” information that may not be admissible during the trial. (RELATED: Harvey Weinstein Accused Of Assaulting Teenage Girl. The Details Are Graphic)
“This would result in a violation of both the defendant’s right to an impartial jury panel and his right to a fair trial,” Burke ruled.
Harvey Weinstein trial should be public, news organizations argue https://t.co/tgeuL0dnoK
— The Guardian (@guardian) April 26, 2019
Burke and prosecutors also stated that closing the hearing would help to protect unidentified accusers.
“They deserve to have their identities protected from public disclosure,” Burke said.
The decision comes after media outlets argued that there was public interest in the case and that the parties failed to prove that the restrictions were necessary for Weinstein to have a fair trial.