The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case.
Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to either Suffolk County, on Long Island, or Albany. The defense team argued that media coverage of the case has created a “circus-like atmosphere,” and prejudiced the Manhattan jury pool against Weinstein.
In response, Assistant District Attorney Harriet Galvin noted that Weinstein’s attorneys are responsible for much of the coverage, as they have given numerous interviews and press conferences about the case.
“While defendant’s lawyers are well within their rights to conduct such interviews, they are hard pressed to complain about a media frenzy or circus-like atmosphere to which they have contributed,” she wrote, adding that the defense motion is simply a ploy to delay the case.
She argued that prospective jurors will be questioned extensively about their exposure to coverage of the case, and their ability to avoid coverage during the trial. The D.A. also noted that jurors in Albany or Suffolk County are exposed to the same coverage as those in Manhattan.
Court-watchers have said it is highly unlikely that the appellate court will agree to move the trial, but that Weinstein’s defense may be seeking to preserve an issue for a potential appeal.
Weinstein is facing five counts of rape and sexual assault, and faces a potential life term if convicted. He is set to be arraigned on Monday on a new indictment.