The judge in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial has threatened to jail the movie producer for his repeated use of his mobile phone during court.
At the beginning of court proceedings in New York, Judge James Burke raised his voice and reprimanded Weinstein and his defence team, specifically Arthur Aidala, for Weinstein’s use of his mobile phones.
“He was calling and texting a minute ago,” Judge Burke said to the defense team.
Weinstein said, “I’m sorry” and hung his head at one point.
Donna Rotunno, another defence attorney, said she was not aware.
“He was aware,” the judge replied.
Judge Burke said this was an “ongoing issue” and referenced past warning at previous hearings.
He said he warned Mr Aidala explicitly in “somewhat unrefined terms” about Weinstein’s mobile phone.
Finally, he said that if Weinstein uses his mobile phone in court one more time he will be taken into custody.
“Mr Aidala, this is on you if he blows it,” Judge Burke said.
“I am pointing my finger at you.”
When Mr Aidala apologised on behalf of Weinstein, Judge Burke said, “I’m not looking for apologies, I’m looking for compliance.”
Before the hearing began, two court officers at different times told Weinstein to stop using his phone several times.
In addition, Los Angeles prosecutors yesterday charged Weinstein with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents in 2013.
Weinstein team asks to delay trial
Yesterday, Mr Aidala argued that the trial should be adjourned because a jury could not be impartial given the new charges in Los Angeles.
Mr Aidala asked for additional time during jury questioning to address the jury’s knowledge of the case or to add a question on the jury questionnaire about it.
Judge Burke denied both of those requests and said that jurors will be instructed to presume Weinstein’s innocence, as he has not been convicted of any crimes.
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi asked the court to remand Weinstein into custody given the seriousness of the latest charges brought against him in LA.
Ms Illuzzi said remanding him would ensure he attends court and suggested he was a flight risk because of his financial means.
The defence, arguing against the remand, said that the warrant hadn’t been put into the national warrant system yet, and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office assured defense attorneys that they won’t act on the warrant until the end of the New York trial.
Judge Burke ordered his clerk to request 120 jurors to the court room to begin the jury selection process before he’d let Mr Aidala enter his request for an adjournment into the record.
Judge Burke aims to begin opening statements on January 22.