Judge approves fresh changes to Weinstein defence team, trial due in September

Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein

FORMER Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has overhauled his legal team for a third time with just 60 days to go before his trial on charges of rape and sexual harassment.

Weinstein appeared in a NY court Thursday morning for a judge to approve newly retained lawyers Donna Rotunno and Damon Cheronis.

Bounding out of the courtroom Thursday after getting sprung from the case, Baez said: "I feel like I won the lottery".

Harvey Weinstein's new lawyer in his Manhattan criminal prosecution clarified earlier comments she made about her client being "railroaded", telling Newsweek in a conversation on Thursday that she believes the emotional intensity of the #MeToo movement is to blame for Weinstein's predicament.

She has espoused a philosophy that the movement is overblown and that women are "responsible for the choices they make". In a letter last month to the judge, Baez said Harvey and his relationship had soured and they didn't want to work together anymore.

Weinstein's current team includes Damon Cheronis, from left, Donna Rotunno and Arthur Aidala.

The two lawyers reportedly chose to part ways with Weinstein after facing pressure from the public and not getting along with their client.

But, she added: "When will Mr Weinstein be held responsible for his?"

At a previous hearing in April, Assistant District Attorney for the prosecution Joan Illuzzi indicated that their side of the case should take about three weeks to complete, and Baez indicated that the defense would need about one week in response.

As the accusations against Weinstein mounted, his company Weinstein Co fired him and filed for bankruptcy, and he was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Judge James Burke approved the swap after questioning Weinstein to ensure it was what he wanted and getting the new lawyers to promise they won't seek to delay the trial from its scheduled September 9 start. Again there was no court reporter to make a record of the conversation.

There was no court reporter present to take a transcript of the conversation.

One lawyer bolted in May amid public backlash and another now says he and Weinstein just couldn't get along. That happened after his original lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, lost a hard-fought bid to get the case thrown out.

Sullivan wrote about the backlash to his representation of Weinstein in a June 24 op-ed in The New York Times, noting that during the 10 years he served as a faculty dean he has represented both sexual assault defendants and accusers in criminal court and student victims in campus Title IX proceedings.

The once prolific movie mogul pleaded not guilty to five counts of rape and sexual assault involving two different women, Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and an unidentified woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013.

Harvard law professor Ronald Sullivan left in May.

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