Jurors in the upcoming trial of Harvey Weinstein will be told that the case will last up to two months, according to a recent court filing.
Weinstein is set to go on trial on Jan. 6 in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan. According to a court filing, the jury pool will be told to expect the trial to last until the first week of March.
Weinstein faces five charges of rape and sexual assault arising from two incidents in 2006 and 2013. In addition to the two alleged victims, the jury is expected to hear from four other Weinstein accusers, including actress Annabella Sciorra. If convicted, the former producer could face life in prison.
Weinstein is also facing a dozen lawsuits accusing him of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and retaliation. Weinstein’s attorneys are seeking to halt discovery in two of those cases — involving plaintiffs Alexandra Canosa and Wedil David — for the duration of the criminal trial.
In letters to the federal judges handling the cases, Weinstein attorney Elior Shiloh said that Weinstein would be heavily involved in trial preparation beginning on Dec. 1, and would be required to attend the trial throughout January and February, and therefore would be unavailable to assist his civil lawyers in responding to discovery requests. Shiloh asked that the judge order discovery to resume on April 1.
“Mr. Weinstein cannot be compelled to respond to interrogatories or give deposition testimony in this civil sexual assault matter at the same time he is standing trial for criminal sexual assault,” Shiloh argued.
Canosa and David have refused to participate in a global settlement of claims against Weinstein. Several other plaintiffs are still seeking to obtain a settlement, however, and do not appear to be actively litigating their cases in the meantime. One plaintiff advised a judge last month that the settlement talks were ongoing and progress was being made.
In a few cases, judges have granted Weinstein’s motions for a stay pending the outcome of the criminal trial. Weinstein’s attorneys have argued that he should not be forced to choose between invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to give testimony — thereby putting himself at greater risk in the civil cases — or waiving that right at risk of increasing his criminal jeopardy.
The judge in the David case previously denied Weinstein’s motion to stay the case. In a letter responding to Shiloh, David’s attorney argued that the previous ruling was correct, and that the two sides could agree to a protective order that would “guard against an undue burden on his Fifth Amendments.”