After a judge today approved Harvey Weinstein’s new high-profile legal team, the former movie mogul’s new lawyer Jose Baez said Weinstein’s rape and sexual assault case “is testing the presumption of innocence in our country.”
The AP quotes Baez saying of Weinstein after today’s hearing: “He is innocent. This is what Harvey Weinstein has said to this court, that he is innocent of these charges, when he pled not guilty.”
Baez added: “You have a man who needs to stand trial for these specific acts and he should be entitled to the same presumption as everyone else.” He said ignoring due process is “a threat to all of us.”
After recently severing ties with his criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman, Weinstein installed a team of four attorneys to represent him in his New York criminal case. His trial is set for May 6, with a pretrial hearing coming up March 8.
Along with Baez, Weinstein’s legal team now consists of Pamela Robillard Mackey, Ronald Sullivan and Duncan Levin. The appointment of the team sparked controversy because Baez and Sullivan previously represented actress Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein’s earliest accusers, in a drug case.
McGowan has called the appointment a “major conflict of interest.”
“Baez and Sullivan denied that, saying McGowan’s case had nothing to do with Weinstein. McGowan is not an accuser in his criminal case,” the AP reports, adding: “The ‘Charmed’ star, who pleaded no contest last week, has alleged that Weinstein had someone plant cocaine that Virginia authorities said they found in her wallet.”