Harvey Weinstein loses another defense lawyer

Harvey Weinstein has lost another defense lawyer, just three months before he is set to go on trial for rape and sexual assault.

Attorney Jose Baez told the judge overseeing the case that Weinstein had taken actions that made it difficult to represent him, according to a letter obtained by the New York Post. Baez also complained that Weinstein was ignoring their fee agreement.

Weinstein is set to go on trial on Sept. 9. Baez’s co-counsel, Ronald Sullivan, withdrew from the case in May, citing a conflict with his teaching schedule at Harvard. He had faced blowback for his decision to represent Weinstein, and was forced to step down as a faculty dean.

“When one of the team members left the case due to the personal pressures that were placed on him, it removed a critical component to the team and legal strategy, which was not yet being filled,” a Weinstein spokesperson said in a statement. “Mr. Weinstein will shortly be welcoming a team that will fulfill each of the essential components needed to properly serve his due process and his rigorous defense.”

Weinstein’s trial in Manhattan was supposed to begin on June 3. But in April, Baez won a postponement, saying he needed more time to prepare. It is not yet clear if Weinstein’s new team will be ready to go in September, though it would not be surprising if the change led to another delay.

Baez is a celebrity attorney who was best known for his successful defense of Casey Anthony, the Florida mother accused of killing her child. He also represented NFL star Aaron Hernandez and Rose McGowan, who is one of Weinstein’s many accusers.

Baez took over for Ben Brafman, the New York defense attorney who handled the Weinstein’s case for a little more than a year. Brafman left the case in January following disagreements over strategy.

Weinstein faces five charges of rape and sexual assault, and could face life in prison if convicted.

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Harvey Weinstein surrenders on sexual assault charges
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Harvey Weinstein surrenders on sexual assault charges
Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at the 1st Precinct in Manhattan in New York, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A police officer is seen in front of the 1st Precinct in Manhattan as film producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to arrive, in New York, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Harvey Weinstein departs New York Police Department's First Precinct in handcuffs on May 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jackson Lee/GC Images)
Film producer Harvey Weinstein, surrenders on sexual assault charges to the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in New York City, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky
Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at the 1st Precinct in Manhattan in New York, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at the 1st Precinct in Manhattan in New York, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Harvey Weinstein turns himself in to the New York Police Department's First Precinct after be served with criminal charges by the Manhattan District Attorney's office on May 25, 2018 in New York City. The former movie producer faces charges in connection with accusations made by aspiring actress Lucia Evans who has said that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in his Manhattan office in 2004. Weinstein (66) has been accused by dozens of other women of forcing them into sexual acts using both pressure and threats. The revelations of the his behavior helped to spawn the global #MeToo movement. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Harvey Weinstein leaves a New York criminal court after posting bail following his arrest this morning on charges of rape, committing a criminal sex act, sexual abuse and sexual misconduct on May 25, 2018 in New York City. Weinstein's bond was set at $10 million and he will be required to wear a GPS monitoring system. The former movie producer faces charges in connection with accusations made by aspiring actress Lucia Evans who has said that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in his Manhattan office in 2004. Weinstein (66) has been accused by dozens of other women of forcing them into sexual acts using both pressure and threats. The revelations of the his behavior helped to spawn the global #MeToo movement. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Harvey Weinstein turns himself in to the New York Police Department's First Precinct after be served with criminal charges by the Manhattan District Attorney's office on May 25, 2018 in New York City. The former movie producer faces charges in connection with accusations made by aspiring actress Lucia Evans who has said that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in his Manhattan office in 2004. Weinstein (66) has been accused by dozens of other women of forcing them into sexual acts using both pressure and threats. The revelations of the his behavior helped to spawn the global #MeToo movement. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Harvey Weinstein along with his attorney Benjamin Brafman (L) appears at his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, May 25, 2018. The former movie producer faces charges in connection with accusations made by aspiring actress Lucia Evans who has said that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in his Manhattan office in 2004. Weinstein (66) has been accused by dozens of other women of forcing them into sexual acts using both pressure and threats. The revelations of the his behavior helped to spawn the global #MeToo movement. (Photo by Steven Hirsch-Pool via Getty Images)
Police officers and members of the media stand in front of the 1st Precinct in Manhattan as film producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to arrive, in New York, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Members of the media stand next to the 1st Precinct in Manhattan as film producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to arrive, in New York, U.S., May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Harvey Weinstein departs New York Police Department's First Precinct in handcuffs on May 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jackson Lee/GC Images)
Harvey Weinstein leaves the Manhattan Criminal Court on May 25, 2018 in New York. - Weinstein was arrested and charged Friday with rape and other sex crimes involving two separate women, New York police announced shortly after the fallen Hollywood mogul surrendered to authorities. (Photo by KENA BETANCUR / AFP) (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
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