Weinstein judge won't step aside as jury selection resumes

Harvey Weinstein Demands A New Judge After Being Threatened With Jail Time For Using Cell Phones In Court

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In a 15-minute ruling read aloud from the bench, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge James Burke defended his admonishing of Weinstein, contending the producer was "defiant and challenging to court officers" on Tuesday when he was ordered to stop using his phone in court.

The judge at Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial has ordered jury selection to begin as scheduled, rejecting a defence request for a "cooling-off period" after prosecutors in Los Angeles brought new charges against the fallen movie mogul.

Weinstein's team branded the comments "prejudicial and inflammatory" and argued the rebuke reflected the "court's animus" toward their client. Burke has not ruled on the motion.

As jury selection was underway, the justice had said: "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?"

Jury selection in the trial, which began Monday in New York City, continued Wednesday, but not before Weinstein's defense team filed a motion requesting that Judge James Burke remove himself from the case. The court will continue to screen 120 potential jurors daily through next week, with opening statements targeted for January 22.

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In the NY case, Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women, and faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault.

If convicted the 67-year-old could get life in prison if convicted.

On Monday, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced new sexual assault charges against Weinstein.

"Ironically, I was concerned that there might be a perception that Mr. Weinstein was getting better treatment and more chances than other defendants, but I didn't worry about that too much, because the reality is - judges seems to always give at least three strikes, and then one final transgression".

Those charges accuse Weinstein of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another woman there on back-to-back nights in 2013.

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Burke also praised the media and suggested they haven't appeared biased against Weinstein.

About 120 prospective jurors are being summoned to court each day.

Gloria Allred arrives at the Manhattan courthouse for the Harvey Weinstein trial.

On Tuesday morning, Judge Burke called out Weinstein for texting on his cell phone while he was seated in the gallery and waiting to take his place at the defense table.

"Notably, your client was non-compliant, defiant and challenging to court officers when asked not to use his cellphones", the judge said, as Weinstein impatiently whispered to attorney Donna Rotunno.

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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.

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