Harvey Weinstein Wins Small Court Victory, Gets One Sexual Assault Count Dismissed

A judge on Thursday dismissed one of the sexual assault charges Harvey Weinstein is facing in Los Angeles, according to a report by Variety.

Though the dismissal gives Weinstein's legal team a small victory following the former film producer's conviction of sexual assault charges in New York last year, prosecutors could still change the charge and bring an updated version before the court, according to Variety.

Prior to the judge's decision, Weinstein was facing 11 sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, including four counts of rape. Weinstein pleaded not guilty to all charges in court last week.

According to local media reports, the judge's decision came after Weinstein's legal team presented arguments that three of the 11 charges were beyond the statute of limitations and requested all three be dismissed. The judge sent one of the charges, for sexual battery and restraint, back to prosecutors, according to KCAL-TV.

Mark Werksman, an attorney for Weinstein, informed reporters outside court: "Count 5 is dead" and celebrated the judge's decision by adding that Weinstein's defense was "off to a good start," Variety reported.

In a statement shared with Newsweek, Werksman said Weinstein's legal team was "grateful" for the judge's decision.

"These charges never should have been brought because they are baseless," Werksman said. "We look forward to having the rest of the case against Mr. Weinstein dismissed in future proceedings."

Before arriving to face the charges in Los Angeles, Weinstein was serving a 23-year prison term in New York. He was sentenced after a jury found him guilty of rape and of forcibly performing oral sex, according to The Associated Press.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles filed additional charges against Weinstein before his New York trial concluded. An indictment unsealed last week introduced "four counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force," the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said in a news release. The charges stem from accusations from five women regarding incidents they told prosecutors occurred between 2004 and 2013.

If convicted in Los Angeles, Weinstein could face an additional 140 years behind bars, according to AP.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón addressed Weinstein and the indictment in a statement included in his office's July 21 news release.

"Anyone who abuses their power and influence to prey upon others will be brought to justice," Gascón said.

The allegations Weinstein is facing have been widely credited with kick-starting the #MeToo movement, which heightened scrutiny of sexual assault and harassment allegations and contributed to the ouster of several high-profile individuals accused of sexual misconduct.

Weinstein was one such individual, who was dismissed from Miramax, the company he co-founded, after The New York Times published a report that said Weinstein allegedly kept sexual harassment and assault incidents quiet by paying off those who accused him.

Updated 07/29/2021, 5:08 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include comments from attorney Mark Werksman.

Updated 07/29/2021, 4:04 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information and background.

Harvey Weinstein one count dismissed
Former film producer Harvey Weinstein had a victory in court on Thursday after one of the sexual assault charges he is facing was dropped. Above, Weinstein listens in court during a pre-trial hearing at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on July 29, 2021, in Los Angeles, California. Etienne Laurent-Pool/Getty Images