Weinstein Judge Denies Request to Delay New York Trial After L.A. Indictment

Judge James M. Burke denied the motion, arguing that the new charges are "next to meaningless" as far as Weinstein's criminal case in New York is concerned.

On Tuesday morning, Judge James M. Burke denied a request from Harvey Weinstein's legal team to delay his criminal trial in New York County "with a cooling-off period" after the former movie mogul was indicted on new charges in Los Angeles County on Monday.

Attorney Arthur Aidala argued that it would be impossible to select a "fair and impartial" panel of jurors after the widespread coverage of Weinstein's new indictment.

"It is the talk of the town, at this very moment," Aidala said, holding up copies of national newspapers that printed front-page coverage of the charges. "Don't we need a cooling-off period? Don't we at least need a period of time so there are other things in the news?" (Weinstein's legal team also suggested that the New York District Attorney's office was in cahoots with L.A. and that these new charges were timed to help the prosecution.)

But the judge immediately denied the motion to adjourn, arguing that the new charges are "next to meaningless" as far as Weinstein's criminal case in New York is concerned.

"The jury knows and will be instructed that being arrested or charged or indicted for a felony is in and of itself meaningless," he said. "If you want to explore the L.A. charges on your voir dire, you may of course do so."

Burke also said he would consider a request to present the jury — once selected — with instructions related to the case.

In light of the new charges, lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon asked the judge to revoke Weinstein's bail agreement and have him remanded, a motion that was also rejected.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Illuzzi-Orbon argued that Weinstein now faces a more perilous situation and could try to flee. "It would ensure that the defendant is here in court and answering to the charges of bar," she told the judge. "We know that the defendant is a man of great means. He travels back and forth across the country privately. He has enormous amounts of real estate. So, judge, there is a grave risk that this defendant at some point will realize that the evidence against him is imposing and overwhelming and look to not only what this means for him, but the fact that across the country the same thing will happen to him."

Tuesday's court session, the second of the trial, began with the judge lambasting Weinstein's team after their client was caught using his cellphone after the judge had warned them — particularly Aidala — about the consequences of another such infraction.

"Put it away, now," a court officer had yelled at Weinstein shortly before the judge entered the courtroom.

"There is an issue, it's an ongoing issue, it's been an issue every single court date," the judge told Weinstein's team, as Weinstein himself repeatedly shook his head. "Mr. Weinstein, I could not implore you more to not answer the following question: Is this really the way you want to end up in jail for the rest of your life, by texting in violation of an order? Is it?"

But the judge decided against revoking Weinstein's bail, giving his team another stern warning instead.

As for the timeline of the case, the court began questioning about 120 potential jurors Tuesday, with open court voir dire processions scheduled to start Thursday, Jan. 16.