Weinstein trial delayed as Sopranos actress allowed to testify

NEW YORK • A judge on Monday postponed Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial until next year, after New York prosecutors filed a new indictment that will allow an actress to testify against the fallen movie mogul.

Weinstein, 67, pleaded not guilty to charges of predatory sexual assault relating to two women in a fresh indictment amended so that the actress can give evidence as a corroborating witness.

The indictment is the same as an earlier indictment and the two are likely to be merged eventually.

One of the women alleges Weinstein raped her in 2013, while the other claims he forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006.

Documents released after the hearing in a New York state court showed that a third women alleges she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein in 1993 and 1994.

The woman's name is redacted, but lawyer Gloria Allred said it was her client Annabella Sciorra, who acted in the hit television series The Sopranos (1999 to 2007).

Sciorra, 59, helped trigger the #MeToo movement in 2017 when she told The New Yorker magazine that Weinstein raped her at her home in Manhattan in 1993.

He cannot be charged with raping her because the 25-year statute of limitations has expired.

The judge denied a prosecution request that Sciorra be allowed to give evidence at the trial because she had not testified before a grand jury as required under American law. The new indictment will allow her to testify, which could strengthen the prosecution's case.

Judge James Burke postponed the trial to Jan 6 to give Weinstein's defence time to prepare. It was scheduled to start on Sept 9.

Weinstein laughed and said "not really" when the judge asked whether he wanted to go to trial.

He has been accused of harassment and assault by more than 80 women, including stars Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd.

Weinstein has insisted his sexual relationships were consensual.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2019, with the headline 'Weinstein trial delayed as Sopranos actress allowed to testify'. Print Edition | Subscribe