NEW YORK – A New York state judge allowed on Thursday a sexual assault case against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein to move forward and set a pre-trial hearing for March 7.
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge James Burke declined to dismiss any of the remaining charges against Weinstein, according to the erstwhile mogul’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, who said the ruling was a “disappointment.”
Weinstein’s defense team argued that the 66-year-old defendant’s case had been marred by police and prosecutorial misconduct.
The former Hollywood mogul, who was arrested in May in New York, faces five felony charges in connection with incidents involving two women.
One accuser says Weinstein raped her in a New York hotel room in 2013, while the other says he forcibly performed oral sex on her at his Manhattan apartment in 2006.
Thursday’s ruling was a setback for the defense, which in October had succeeded in having one sexual assault count dismissed due to inconsistencies in the testimony of an accuser named Lucia Evans.
The former Hollywood producer has faced accusations of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, including several famous actresses; the flurry of allegations led to the rise of the #MeToo movement, which encourages sexual assault victims to come forward.
Weinstein was fired from the film company he co-founded, expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, abandoned by his wife and repudiated by his colleagues amid the massive scandal, which erupted late last year.
The producer of Hollywood blockbusters such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love” pleaded not guilty in the case before the Manhattan court and has consistently denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.