Harvey Weinstein loses bid to move rape trial out of New York

Harvey Weinstein loses bid to move rape trial out of New York

Appeals court officials have shot down Harvey Weinstein's last-minute motion to move his rape trial out of New York City.

The disgraced producer's lawyers have repeatedly argued their client is unlikely to receive a fair trial in Manhattan due to the intense press coverage surrounding the case, while they also claimed the constant presence of protestors blasting Weinstein outside the courthouse had turned the proceedings into a "media and entertainment circus".

The request was recently denied by Judge James Burke, but the defence team refused to give up, and took the argument to a panel of state appellate judges last week (ends17Jan20).

However, appeals court officials decided against the motion in a brief ruling on Tuesday (21Jan20).

The news paves the way for opening statements to be delivered, as planned, in a Manhattan courtroom on Wednesday.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to five felony counts of rape and sexual assault relating to alleged incidents with two separate women in 2006 and 2013. He maintains all sexual contact was consensual.

Meanwhile, his lawyers have been barred from using "dozens and dozens and dozens of loving emails" addressed to Weinstein from his accusers to discredit witnesses, who reportedly "bragged" about their sexual relationships with the Pulp Fiction producer.

Judge Burke refused to allow the actual emails to feature in an opening argument presentation amid concerns about how the correspondence will be used once made public, but agreed to allow references to their "substance and content".

The trial will be heard by a jury of seven men and five women, and is expected to last until March (20).

If convicted, Weinstein, 67, faces life behind bars.

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