Harvey Weinstein Has 1 Sexual Assault Charge Rejected by Judge for Second Time

A Los Angeles judge rejected one of 11 sexual assault counts against Harvey Weinstein for a second time on Thursday, dropping it from the indictment.

Judge Lisa B. Lench first dismissed the count of sexual battery by restraint two weeks ago, as she deemed it to be too old and outside the statute of limitations. Lench did allow the district attorney's office to amend the allegation.

Lench rejected the count again on Thursday, as she found neither of two attempts at an amended complaint from prosecutors solved the issue. She said that if prosecutors reconvene the grand jury and get it to return a new indictment for the charge, she may accept it, but offered no specific instructions.

"I can't tell you what to do," Lench said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Harvey Weinstein
The charge against Harvey Weinstein for sexual battery by restraint was deemed to be out of the statute of limitations by a judge. Above, Weinstein listens in court during a pre-trial hearing in Los Angeles, California on July 29, 2021. Etienne Laurent/AFP via Getty Images

Weinstein attended the hearing in LA County jail attire. He was brought into the courtroom shackled to a wheelchair and was uncuffed as the proceedings began.

The rejected count dates to May 2010. Weinstein was first charged with it in January 2020, before the statute of limitations had expired. Prosecutors then got an indictment from a grand jury on an identical count six months later, when the time had lapsed.

The judge agreed with Weinstein attorney Alan Jackson that the grand jury indictment was a new prosecution, and therefore was coming too late.

"The people are grasping to try to save something that is unsalvageable," Jackson said in court. "They did it, they blew it, they can't fix it."

Prosecutors argued that it was a continuation of the same case.

While the count is a small part of the case, dismissing it removes one of five accusers from Weinstein's forthcoming trial.

Still intact are four counts of rape and six other sexual assault counts. Weinstein pleaded not guilty to all of them last month in his first court appearance in the California case. He was extradited from New York, where he is serving a 23-year sentence for convictions of rape and sexual assault.

Other charges against Weinstein are for even older incidents, but different statutes apply to them.

The defense also revealed at the hearing that they have been given a list of 248 witnesses for the forthcoming trial, for which no date has been set.

Weinstein's attorneys will seek to reject many of them, and more technical fights are likely to come as they attempt to erode the case against him.

"Today's a great example of why we need judges with a backbone," Weinstein attorney Mark Werksman said outside court, "and juries with a tough spine to stand up against false accusations."

Weinstein courtroom
Harvey Weinstein is still facing 10 counts in his Los Angeles sexual assault trial. Above, Weinstein sits with his attorneys, Mark Werksman (C) and Alan Jackson (R), during a pre-trial hearing in Los Angeles on July 29, 2021. Etienne Laurent/Pool Photo via AP