"Mr. Weinstein, I can not implore you more to not answer the following question - that means don't say anything", Burke reportedly Weinstein, according to The Post. Weinstein's lawyers said the film producer, who has been seen clutching an iPhone, was using his cellphone before court was in session. And now, Weinstein is demanding a new judge before his trial begins.
His defence team tried to delay the jury selection in light of a new case filed in Los Angeles, but that request was denied by a judge.
He also asked for additional time during jury questioning to address their knowledge of the case or to add a question on their questionnaire about it.
This unprecedented press conference was no coincidence and was orchestrated to inflict maximum damage to Mr Weinstein by unleashing a storm of extremely negative publicity, just as his jury was about to be selected in this case. He had already been admonished by Judge Burke at previous court appearances for using a handset. In all, 66 prospective jurors have advanced to the next stage in what is expected to be a lengthy selection process.
On the same day Weinstein's trial began in NY, prosecutors in Los Angeles filed charges against him for rape and sexual assault, which allegedly took place in 2013. If convicted, he might face the rest of his life in jail. The 67-year-old ex-studio boss has pleaded not guilty and maintains that any sexual activity was consensual.
As his NY trial was getting underway Monday, Los Angeles prosecutors announced new charges in a separate case against Weinstein. He's accused of raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman in NY 2006.
In the Los Angeles case, which will be tried at a later date, he is accused of sexually assaulting two women on back-to-back nights in 2013. They were asked whether they had hardship or time-commitment issues (the trial is expected to last until at least March 6), and whether at the outset they had doubts about their ability to be a fair and impartial juror in the case.
On Tuesday, potential jurors were introduced as a group to Weinstein and were read a list of names that could come up at trial, including actresses Salma Hayek, Charlize Theron and Rosie Perez.
The court is now having a hard time to put together a bench of jurors.
Among Allred's clients is former production assistant Mimi Haleyi, one of the women Weinstein was charged with assaulting.
Defense lawyers for the embattled movie producer filed a motion in NY on Wednesday asking the judge to recuse himself from the case for threatening a day earlier to revoke the defendant's bail with "comments [that] were so inflammatory, biased and prejudicial that they have virtually gone viral".