Harvey Weinstein is set to appear in court on Monday for an arraignment on a new indictment, the Manhattan D.A.’s office said Thursday.
Prosecutors announced last week that they would seek a fresh indictment, which would allow actress Annabella Sciorra to testify at Weinstein’s trial. The move came after Justice James Burke ruled on Aug. 8 that she could not testify because her account had not been presented to the grand jury.
Weinstein’s attorneys, Arthur Aidala and Donna Rotunno, issued a statement on Thursday blasting the D.A.’s last-minute move.
“This Monday, Harvey Weinstein will appear in court for what is an unprecedented fourth arraignment in his criminal matter,” they said. “There has been no case in recent memory where a district attorney has gone back to the Grand Jury on two separate occasions to re-present a case before that body in the hopes of obtaining an indictment that can withstand the scrutiny of a trial jury. This action by the prosecutor bespeaks the desperation that has engulfed their case. We have reached the point where one must be concerned that these desperate measures indicate more of a focus on obtaining a conviction at all costs than on seeking justice.”
Weinstein’s trial on rape and sexual assault charges is set to begin on Sept. 9.
Weinstein is accused of performing forcible oral sex on one woman in 2006, and of raping a second woman in 2013. He faces five counts, including two counts of “predatory sexual assault,” which carry a potential life sentence.
Sciorra alleges that Weinstein raped her in 1993. The accusation is too old to be filed under the New York statute of limitations, but it can be used to support the charges that Weinstein is a sexual predator. Without Sciorra’s testimony, the prosecution would depend solely on the two other accusers to prove those charges.
The indictment has not been unsealed. The prosecution is also expected to call an unknown number of “Molineux witnesses,” who would give their own accounts of Weinstein’s conduct in order to prove a consistent pattern of behavior.