A New York State appeals court on Thursday unanimously upheld a judge’s decision to bar the public from a critical hearing in the Harvey Weinstein rape case.
On April 26, Justice James Burke held a closed hearing on whether to allow testimony from women who claim they were assaulted by Weinstein, but whose claims are not the subject of the criminal charges. Both the prosecution and the defense argued that disclosure of such evidence at this stage could taint the jury pool.
A group of 15 media organizations, including the New York Times and the Associated Press, appealed the decision, and asked that motions related to the hearing be unsealed. The media groups argued that many, if not all, of the additional allegations against Weinstein have already been aired in the press.
In its ruling on Thursday, a five-justice panel of the First Department of the Appellate Division rejected the media organizations’ argument, finding that the subject of the hearing “was likely to be prejudicial and inflammatory.”
“Further, some or all of the allegations may have been determined to be inadmissible at trial, or may not be offered at trial even if found potentially admissible,” they wrote, adding that prosecutors have said that some of the claims have never been reported. “Given the worldwide media scrutiny this case has received, the motion court reasonably concluded that the sealing of documents relating to this single pretrial hearing was the only way to prevent tainting the jury pool with such inadmissible, prejudicial information.”
Weinstein faces life in prison if he is convicted of five charges. He is accused of forcibly performing oral sex on Mimi Haleyi in 2006, and of raping another unidentified woman in 2013. Prosecutors want to call additional women to establish a pattern of behavior, as was done in the trial of comedian Bill Cosby last year.
The Weinstein trial was expected to begin in June, but the defense asked for additional time to prepare. Burke agreed to postpone the trial to Sept. 9.
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09: Film Producer Harvey Weinstein attends Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's 'The Current War' TIFF Premiere Party Hosted by Cactus Club Cafe And Johnnie Walker Black Label at First Canadian Place on September 9, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by GP Images/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Film producer Harvey Weinstein attends the premiere of 'House of Z' hosted by Brooks Brothers with The Cinema Society at Crosby Street Hotel on September 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 2: (L-R) Elizabeth Olsen, Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman attend The Weinstein Company with FIJI, Grey Goose, Lexus and NetJets host the after party for 'Wind River' at The Skylark on August 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 25: Harvey Weinstein (L) and Georgina Chapman attend the amfAR Gala Cannes 2017 at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 25, 2017 in Cap d'Antibes, France. (Photo by Dave Benett/amfAR2017/Dave Benett/WireImage for amfAR )
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 25: Harvey Weinstein speaks on stage during the amfAR Gala Cannes 2017 at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 25, 2017 in Cap d'Antibes, France. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 11: Co-creator, Executive Producer & Actor Aziz Ansari, film producer Harvey Weinstein and VP of Original Series for Netflix Cindy Holland attend the Netflix Master Of None S2, Premiere NY Screening 2017 on May 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Netflix)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 09: Film producer Harvey Weinstein poses with writer Plum Sykes during her book launch celebration for 'Party Girls Die In Pearls' at Brooks Brothers on May 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 4: Harvey Weinstein speaks at International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children 2017 Gala for Child Protection at Gotham Hall on May 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NY - APRIL 30: (Exclusive Coverage) Harvey Weinstein attends 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge celebrates 25th Anniversary of 'Reservoir Dogs' with private party for Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino at 1 Hotel on April 30, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for 1 Hotel)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: Film Producer Harvey Weinstein attends 'Reservoir Dogs' 25th Anniversary Screening during 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at The Beacon Theatre on April 28, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Harvey Weinstein attends the 2017 National Geographic FURTHER FRONT at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: (L-R) Harvey Weinstein, Don Lemon, and Dan Abrams attend The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media 2017 at The Pool on April 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Harvey Weinstein and Blake Lively attend 2017 Time 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TIME)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04: Harvey Weinstein is seen on April 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Harvey Weinstein, and Jay Z speak onstage during TIME AND PUNISHMENT: A Town Hall Discussion with JAY Z and Harvey Weinstein on Spike TV at MTV Studios on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Spike)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Producer Harvey Weinstein (L) and designer Georgina Chapman arrive at the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 25: (L-R) Actor Dev Patel, producer Harvey Weinstein and actress Priyanka Bose attend The Weinstein Company's Pre-Oscar Dinner in partnership with Bvlgari and Grey Goose at Montage Beverly Hills on February 25, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson (L) and Producer Harvey Weinstein attend a dinner to celebrate The GCC and The Journey To Sustainable Luxury on February 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/ Getty Images for Eco-Age)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15: Mandy Moore, Harvey Weinstein and Anna Wintour attend the Marchesa Fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Skylight Clarkson Sq on February 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Kat Florence (L) and Harvey Weinstein attend as The Weinstein Company, Entertainment Film Distributors and STUDIOCANAL celebrate the 2017 BAFTA after party in partnership with Ben Sherman, Kat Florence, and Grey Goose at Rosewood London on February 12, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09: Harvey Weinstein attends the Power of Film and Moving Images symposium at The Royal Institution on February 9, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)