Harvey Weinstein's Los Angeles trial will begin in less than six weeks despite arguments from his defense that an upcoming film could prejudice the jury against him. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench rejected an attempt to delay the trial because of She Said, a biographical drama about New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who exposed the disgraced producer's history of sexual misconduct, Deadline reports. The film will make its debut at the New York Film Festival next month ahead of a nationwide release in November.
Weinstein lawyer Mark Werskman argued that publicity around the film would make it a "big deal in the public consciousness and the consciousness of prospective jurors." The film is based on Kantor and Twohey's 2019 book of the same name. "The timing of the movie makes it hard to assure a fair trial that is judged by the facts and not the emotions of those who see the film or who recall the weight of the book when it came out initially," Weinstein publicist Juda Engelmayer told Deadline after the hearing. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, including four counts of rape, involving five women over a nine-year period from 2004 to 2013. Jury selection is set to begin Oct. 10.
Werksman also asked the court to help Weinstein receive "restorative dentistry" to cap missing or rotten teeth before the trial so he doesn't look "indigent and unkempt," Rolling Stone reports. Lench said she would speak to jail personnel, but she doesn't "know that he’s in any more of a detrimental position than anybody else who’s in custody during a trial. There are downsides to it. He’s in custody because he was sentenced in New York." In 2020, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in New York state prison on rape and sexual assault charges. That conviction was upheld last year, but the state's highest court agreed last week to hear his appeal, the AP reports. Oral arguments are expected next year. (Read more Harvey Weinstein stories.)