Judge refuses to dismiss sex assault charges against Harvey Weinstein

NYPD Detective Nicholas DiGaudio right escorts Harvey Weinstein into court in New

Disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein must stand trial for five felony sex crimes, including two counts of rape, after a NY judge rejected his lawyers' push to drop all charges against him.

At a brief hearing in NY on Thursday morning, a judge rejected arguments by Weinstein's attorneys that the five outstanding charges should be dismissed and the case dropped.

He was arrested by the New York Police Department in May and charged in Manhattan with forcing former actress Lucia Evans to perform oral sex on him in 2004; attacking another woman, Mimi Haleyi, in 2006; and sexually assaulting an unidentified woman in a hotel in 2013.

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Harvey Weinstein in court as judge declines to dismiss #MeToo sexual assault case against him - live updates

Weinstein, who denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex, is putting on his fiercest campaign yet to get the case thrown out.

But Weinstein's lawyers say evidence in his case, in which he faces five sexual assault charges, has been mishandled and they maintain the women are lying. The lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents one of the women accusing Weinstein, said outside the courthouse Thursday that there was "still time for other accusers to come forward".

Disgraced movie producer indicted on two counts of rape and one count of criminal sex act; Laura Ingle reports from New York City.

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A dismissal of the charges would be a big setback to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who was criticised for declining to pursue criminal charges against Weinstein when he was accused of groping an Italian model in 2015.

Judge James Burke's ruling buoyed a prosecution that has appeared on rocky ground in recent months amid a prolonged defense effort to raise doubts about the case and the police investigation. He pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail. Several activists involved in these movements made their presence known at the hearing.

"Now, we'll see whether the breakthrough continues with the Weinstein case".

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Late Wednesday, however, a spokesperson for Lawrence told the Post she would not attend the hearing. "If these women testify strongly on the witness stand, Weinstein will lose".

Prosecutors also disclosed an allegation that Det DiGaudio urged the 2013 rape accuser to delete private material from her mobile phones before handing them over to the DA's office. Prosecutors said the material didn't pertain to Weinstein and the woman wound up not deleting anything. The Times typically does not name women who make accusations of sexual assault, but Haleyi and Evans have told their stories in public.

The investigator is alleged to have coached a potential witness and one of Weinstein's accusers.

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