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Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s attempt to dodge two of the 11 sexual assault charges he’s facing in Los Angeles was today thrown out by a judge.
The 69 year-old movie mogul’s attorney, Alan Jackson, argued that the two counts - one of rape and the other of forced oral copulation both involving the same victim, Jane Doe #4, dated back to September 2004 or 2005 , and consequently, the statute of limitations ran out on them in September 2015.
But Judge Lisa Lench over-ruled Jackson’s demurrer - challenge, in layman’s terms - and allowed the two charges to stand.
The judge did sustain Jackson’s demurrer on a third count - sexual battery of victim Jane Doe #3 in 2010 - after the attorney told the court that the prosecution’s case in this count is ‘fatally flawed’ and the statute of imitations has also run out on it.
Judge Lench did not throw the charge out, but gave leave to the prosecution to file an amended indictment on that sexual battery charge.
Harvey Weinstein is pictured in court in L.A. on Thursday. The 69-year-old is facing 11 additional sex crimes. He is already serving 23 years in New York
The 69-year-old wore his reading glasses and a blue face mask with his brown prison top. The judge said no one would know they were prison clothes, after Weinstein's lawyers asked if he could wear his own outfit
Weinstein showed no emotion or reaction to the judge’s decision today as he sat in a wheelchair, uncuffed and wearing brown LA County Jail overalls and a blue mask.
His lead attorney, Mark Werksman, took issue with the judge over the former Hollywood big-shot’s prison clothes that bore the words ‘LA County Jail’ on the back.
Werksman objected to still and video cameras being allowed to capture Weinstein in his jail duds, saying such pictures would be ‘prejudicial.’
And he filed a motion asking Judge Lench to allow Weinstein to be unshackled and ‘wear civilian clothing so that at least he can look like he is presumed innocent’ before his trial.
The judge allowed Weinstein to appear uncuffed but told Werksman, ‘I am not going to grant the other part of the motion.
‘Mr. Weinstein is wearing a brown top. You know that it’s jail attire but I’m not sure anyone else does.’
Weinstein has repeatedly pleaded his innocence and tried to get out of jail, citing his ailing health as among the reasons for it
Weinstein had two attorneys present for the hearing on Thursday. They tried to get three charges thrown out; the judge upheld two and gave the prosecution time to file a downgraded charge for the third
The judge - who also allowed the press to take photos and video during today’s hearing at the criminal court in downtown LA - told Weinstein that he had a right to a speedy trial within 60 days of his first court appearance in L.A. on July 21, but he could waive that right if he wished.
‘Does that agree with you sir?’ she asked him.
After conferring with his attorneys, he responded, ‘Yes your honor,’ waiving his speedy trial right. The next hearing is on September 13.
On July 20, Weinstein was extradited to L.A. from New York where he is serving a 23-year prison sentence after being convicted of raping an actress and sexually assaulting a production assistant.
Weinstein is pictured in 2016, the year before he was brought down by the #MeToo scandal. He says his health has deteriorated in prison
The day after arriving in LA, he made a brief court appearance where he pleaded not guilty to raping or sexually assaulting five women in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2013.
Most of the alleged crimes - which comprise four counts of forcible rape, four of forcible oral copulation, two of sexual battery by restraint and one of sexual penetration by use of force - happened at LA area hotels where New York-based Weinstein was staying during visits to Hollywood.
If convicted, he’s looking at maximum prison sentences totaling 140 years.
Meanwhile, the man who unwittingly helped spark the #MeToo movement, maintains his innocence, insisting that any sexual activity was consensual.
At the July 21 hearing, attorney Werksman, was granted a request for a medical evaluation of Weinstein who is reportedly suffering from spinal stenosis and is blind in one eye.
Weinstein’s New York attorneys used his medical ailments as a reason to hold up his extradition to LA for many months.
And outside the July 21 hearing, women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred - who represents one of Weinstein’s New York victims and two of his alleged victims in LA - scorned the delaying tactics in an interview with DailyMail.com.
‘I am happy that this day has come and I’m looking for a fair trial here in Los Angeles,’ she said.
‘Mr. Weinstein and his defense have been delaying his extradition to Los Angeles for a long time,’ she said. ‘‘But he finally ran out of excuses.
‘It’s absurd that he claimed he needed to stay in New York because he needed medical care. We have excellent medical care here in LA.
‘I think that it’s important for him to face trial here in LA because some of his victims here have not had their day in court.
‘Justice may have been delayed in Los Angeles, but it’s not going to be denied.'