Harvey Weinstein's new lawyer says he was 'railroaded' by #MeToo movement

Stephanie Keith  Getty Images
Harvey Weinstein enters the courthouse

Stephanie Keith Getty Images Harvey Weinstein enters the courthouse

Asked by Judge James Burke if he agreed to allow Chicago-based Donna Rotunno, a former prosecutor who specializes in defending men accused of sexual assault, and Damon Cheronis to replace his current attorney Jose Baez, Weinstein, dressed in a suit and tie, said "Yes".

"Mr. Weinstein has engaged in behavior that makes this representation unreasonably hard to carry out effectively and has insisted upon taking actions with which I have fundamental disagreements", Baez wrote.

But, she added: "When will Mr Weinstein be held responsible for his?" "#MeToo has done good things for women-there are a lot of positive things surrounding it and Harvey Weinstein would agree with me-but when you allow a movement or a cause to take over when you're standing in judgment of someone's life, that is where I have the problem". Weinstein has maintained, via two previous legal defense teams, that the sexual encounters were consensual.

Judge James Burke approved the swap after questioning Weinstein to ensure it was what he wanted and getting the new lawyers to promise they won't seek to delay the trial from its scheduled September 9 start. The judge asked Weinstein if that was OK with him.

Gloria Allred, who represents one of the alleged victims as well as one witness in the criminal trial, held her own news conference outside the courtroom.

Rose said in response to the news that she believes her case didn't go to trial because the lawyers involved had been paid to ignore it.

Having originally retained leading NY attorney Benjamin Brafman, who battled unsuccessfully to get the case dismissed, Weinstein then switched out his team earlier this year and brought in Baez and also Ronald Sullivan, a Harvard law professor, who withdrew in May after protests on campus.

A pretrial hearing in Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault case has been playing out in open court, but two conversations among the judge and lawyers happened in secrecy.

Later, he called all the lawyers to the bench for a 10-minute discussion of how they'll proceed when it comes time for jury selection.

According to United States media reports, the founder of the Miramax studios and The Weinstein Company has reviewed his defence strategy several times and thought that having a woman heading his team would make a more favourable impression on the jury in a sexual assault case.

They, in turn, had replaced NY defense lawyer Ben Brafman, who quit the case in January.

Weinstein ignored journalists' questions outside the Manhattan courtroom.

Harvey Weinstein is back in a NY courthouse for a discussion about efforts to recast the defense team handling his sexual assault case.

Lawyer Jose Baez is seeking the judge's permission to leave the case. In a letter last month to the judge, Baez said Harvey and his relationship had soured and they didn't want to work together anymore.

Harvey Weinstein is recasting his defense team yet again, this time a mere 60 days before he's due to stand trial in NY on sexual assault charges.

One lawyer bolted in May amid public backlash and another now says he and Weinstein just couldn't get along. Harvard law professor Ronald Sullivan left in May amid backlash about his involvement. That happened after his original lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, lost a hard-fought bid to get the case thrown out.

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