A judge Tuesday denied a defense motion seeking the dismissal of the grand jury indictment against disgraced former film producer Harvey Weinstein, who was extradited from New York to Los Angeles in connection with sex-related counts involving five women.
Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lenchy said she found “sufficient evidence” to “support the charges in this matter” against Weinstein, who is charged with 11 felony counts.
Weinstein’s attorney, Mark Werksman, argued that the evidence presented to the grand jury was “weak and insufficient” and that the prosecution’s presentation to the grand jury was “egregious.”
The defendant’s legal team has repeatedly challenged the grand jury indictment, with the judge at one point dismissing one of the charges — sexual battery by restraint — that was subsequently added back to the case in an amended grand jury indictment in August.
Los Angeles County prosecutors initially charged Weinstein in January 2020 with forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by use of force involving one woman on Feb. 18, 2013, and sexual battery by restraint involving another woman a day later.
Weinstein, now 69, was subsequently charged in April 2020 with sexual battery by restraint — the count that has been the subject of a legal battle. In November 2020, prosecutors added six more counts — three counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation — involving two alleged victims in Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2010.
The grand jury subsequently indicted Weinstein on the same charges.
Weinstein was extradited July 20 from New York, where he has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for raping an aspiring actress and a criminal sex act against a former production assistant.
Weinstein’s legal team had tried to block his transfer from New York to Los Angeles until he was “medically fit” to be moved. A court document filed in Los Angeles by the defense contended that Weinstein was in “urgent need of medical treatment to save his eyesight, and that this treatment could take anywhere from 24 to 36 months.”
Werksman told reporters outside court that his client is “obviously not happy to be in custody” and is “struggling with his health.”
Weinstein is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Feb. 23, when attorneys are expected to perform conditional examinations of two witnesses in advance of the trial.
Weinstein produced such films as `Shakespeare in Love,” which in 1999 received the best picture Oscar, and “Pulp Fiction.”