“A judge decided Friday to hold an important pretrial hearing in Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault case in secret, saying the former movie mogul’s right to a fair trial outweighed news organizations’ arguments for keeping the courtroom open,” the AP reports.
The report notes that both the prosecution and the defense wanted the hearing held behind closed doors. The hearing will focus on trial strategy and potential witnesses.
“Manhattan judge James Burke said closing the courtroom to the press and public was ‘the only means available to avoid the tainting of the jury pool,'” the AP reports. “He said coverage of the hearing — which would deal with material that ‘is prejudicial to the defendant and is highly inflammatory’ — would serve no purpose but to stir negative public sentiment toward Weinstein.”
Attorneys for media organizations were asking an appeals court to halt the proceeding, the report adds.