Weinstein judge won’t step aside as jury selection resumes

Harvey Weinstein Demands A New Judge After Being Threatened With Jail Time For Using Cell Phones In Court

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In a 15-minute ruling read aloud from the bench, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge James Burke defended his admonishing of Weinstein, contending the producer was "defiant and challenging to court officers" on Tuesday when he was ordered to stop using his phone in court.

"Let me first just state the obvious", said Burke, after denying the motion.

At the beginning of the hearing, Judge James Burke - who had seen the producer on his cell phone - fumed at Weinstein: "Is this really the way you want to end up in jail for the rest of your life, by texting and violating a court order?"

The defense further argued that Burke has failed to adequately safeguard Weinstein's right to a fair and impartial jury, in part by rejecting a request to halt jury selection for a "cooling off" period after prosecutors in Los Angeles filed new sex crimes charges against him on Monday.

After jury selection, Mr Weinstein's NY trial is expected to begin in about two weeks' time.

The 30 potential jurors who were not dismissed Wednesday are expected to return January 16 for the next phase of jury selection.

Harvey Weinstein leaves NY court, January 6, 2020, in NY.

The recusal request came during a second day of jury selection that ended with 30 people invited back next week for additional questioning.

Weinstein, who recently underwent back surgery and hobbled into court using a walking frame, is charged in NY with raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing a sex act on another woman in the city in 2006. If convicted, he could receive a life sentence. The 67-year-old has said any sexual activity was consensual. Weinstein has maintained his innocence and has pleaded not guilty to his charges. The New York District Attorney's Office declined to comment on the motion.

That challenge was demonstrated Thursday when Burke detected a stir after breaking the news to a new batch of prospective jurors that they were there for the Weinstein case.

Burke also praised the media and suggested they haven't appeared biased against Weinstein.

The court is now having a hard time to put together a bench of jurors.

The motion came after another complaint lodged by Weinstein's legal team Wednesday, which unsuccessfully tried to bar attorney Gloria Allred from the courtroom because she may be called as a witness.

The defense is seeking a reassignment of the case to another judge.

Legal experts and Rotunno herself said her gender might prompt jurors to view her more favorably when she cross-examines Weinstein's accusers.

Among Allred's clients is former production assistant Mimi Haleyi, one of the women Weinstein was charged with assaulting. She told reporters outside the courthouse that if called as a witness, she couldn't be compelled to reveal any confidential communications with clients.

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