Harvey Weinstein is trying to distance people from his trial before it even begins.
Wednesday marked the third day of jury selection in the disgraced movie executive's rape trial, and it's already proving hard to keep anyone in the room. In addition to the dozens of potential jurors who've been disqualified from the case, Weinstein's legal team has also tried to get well-known attorney Gloria Allred and the judge who's overseeing it all barred from the courtroom altogether.
Weinstein's issue with New York Supreme Court Judge James Burke began Tuesday morning when he called out the defendant for using his phone in the courtroom ahead of the proceedings. While a spokesperson for Weinstein said he wasn't told he couldn't use the phone before the hearing and put it away when he was asked, Burke came out for the proceedings and asked Weinstein "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?" "These comments reflect the court's animus towards the defendant," Weinstein's legal team argued in a letter calling for Burke's removal from the case. Weinstein has maintained his innocence and has pleaded not guilty to his charges.
Later Wednesday, Weinstein's lawyers asked Burke to have Allred, a well-known women's rights attorney representing several of Weinstein's alleged victims, removed from the proceedings as well. "Ms. Allred should not be allowed to sit in court, watch that testimony and share that testimony with her clients," Weinstein's attorney said, given that Allred may also be called as a witness in the case. Burke concluded Allred could stay in the room and on the witness list.
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