Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys urged an appeals court on Thursday to move his trial out of New York, arguing the media atmosphere has jeopardized his ability to get an impartial jury.
The appellate court did not immediately issue a ruling, but denied the defense request to put a halt to jury selection now underway in New York Supreme Court. A ruling is expected by Tuesday.
Weinstein’s attorneys have cited the high number of people who have said they cannot be impartial, and the “circus-like” conditions at the courthouse, which included a mass protest last week by anti-rape activists. They have asked to move the case to Albany or Suffolk County.
The D.A.’s office opposed the request, arguing that Justice James Burke is an experienced judge and the case is moving along expeditiously. Valerie Figueredo, an assistant district attorney, argued that the case has garnered nationwide attention, and that therefore he would face the same media environment anywhere.
She also said the protests were not unusual.
“They happen all the time,” she said. “There’s no reason to think jurors will be impacted.”
The appellate court denied Weinstein’s earlier request to move the trial last fall. The defense has also asked, unsuccessfully, for more time to interview jurors and for Burke to recuse himself.