Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul whose downfall helped launch the #MeToo movement, is due back in NY court on March 7 after a judge Thursday morning ordered a pretrial hearing in the rape case.
Burke could have dismissed some or all of the charges, which would have been a major setback for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who was criticized for declining to pursue criminal charges against Weinstein when he was accused of groping an Italian model in 2015.
It's been 14 months since the first allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein that sparked Hollywood's #MeToo movement.
Weinstein's lawyers say the case has devolved into chaos and was "irreparably tainted" by Det Nicholas DiGaudio's alleged interference with a witness and an accuser.
Weinstein's case started to turn in October when Manhattan prosecutors dropped one of the charges after evidence surfaced that DiGaudio instructed a potential witness in the case to keep some of her doubts about the veracity of the allegations to herself.
"Frankly, we are relieved that Harvey Weinstein failed in his efforts to avoid accountability for his actions, and we are very happy that none of the charges were dismissed".
The judge said that while prosecutors must disclose evidence favorable to a defendant before trial, they do not have to show it to a grand jury.
After the private conversation, Burke adjourned the hearing by only saying, "I will see you again March 7 for pretrial hearings". Weinstein's lawyers are also claiming that the prosecution has not included evidence, specifically correspondence between Weinstein and his accusers that they claim allude to a consensual relationship.
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Weinstein's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, calls it a "technical ruling" and says he's still confident Weinstein will be "completely exonerated".
The case has been heavily scrutinized in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which exploded a year ago after numerous women made allegations against Weinstein.
He was released on bail and pleaded not guilty to the charges allegedly committed in 2004, 2006 and 2013.
The disgraced mogul faces five felony charges, including predatory sexual assault and rape.
The judge also denied Weinstein's request for an evidentiary hearing and said that his defense lawyers could address the issue of the witnesses' credibility during the trial.
A hearing for the case is now scheduled for early March.
Bennett Gershman, who teaches law at Pace University, said he believes prosecutors have a solid case with the two remaining accusers, no matter what they may have said to Weinstein after the alleged assaults.
Barbara Barron, a professor at Hofstra University School of Law, says the detective's conduct created a "surprise" in the Weinstein case.