Prosecutors and defense attorneys in Harvey Weinstein‘s New York criminal case have apparently agreed on one thing: they don’t want reporters or the public present for their next court hearing, currently scheduled for Friday. As per a notice from the court, media organizations were given until Monday to file any oppositions to this with the court. By Monday morning, a number of outlets had already done so.
“The Court has received applications from both the prosecution and defense that portions of these proceedings be closed to the press and public,” said the court’s notice, sent to media organizations. “As this case has generated substantial press and public interest, we are alerting members of the media about the potential sealing of the courtroom, allowing any media outlets who wish to be heard regarding the potential closure time to prepare and submit the required papers to the court by Monday April 22, 2019.”
Law&Crime has been present in the courtroom in the past for Weinstein’s case, but if attorneys get their way, that won’t be the case Friday morning. The Associated Press is among the news organizations that are petitioning the court to keep the hearing open.
Friday morning’s hearing, set for 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time, is particularly sensitive, as it deals with whether certain evidence of Weinstein’s prior bad acts (including uncharged criminal activity), which could be used against Weinstein at trial. This includes allegations of sexual misconduct involving women other than those involved in the criminal case. Prosecutors have expressed concern that allowing the public and the media into the courtroom could violate the privacy of women bringing these other accusations.
Judge James Burke said in an order that before the hearing, he will conduct a preliminary hearing to determine whether or not to close the courtroom. Attorneys for both sides will be allowed to present arguments, he said, “and the press and public will also be allowed to present their position.” The court will then decide whether or not to allow the press and public to remain for the main hearing.
[Image via KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images]