Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is once again facing 11 sex assault charges involving five women in Los Angeles County after prosecutors returned to a grand jury this week to resuscitate a rejected count.
In a secret, third amended indictment signed by a grand jury foreman on Wednesday, the former Hollywood producer is again charged with restraining and touching a woman's "intimate part" against her will on May 11, 2010.
"This is now the district attorney's fourth attempt to get the charging document right. It is yet to be seen if they will succeed," Alan Jackson, one of Weinstein's defence lawyers, said in a statement to the Daily News.
The disputed charge, known as Count 5, was rejected by the court last week for being outside the 10-year statute of limitations the way it was presented to the grand jury last spring.
Prosecutors initially filed the charge in April 2020 - within the statute of limitations - using an amended complaint outside the grand jury system.
When they switched gears and decided to go to a criminal grand jury with a different case number, they were required to get explicit buy-in from grand jurors that Count 5 was based on "continuous prosecution" dating back to 2020.
With the new indictment returned this week, the grand jury agrees Count 5 covers "the same criminal conduct" charged in April 2020 and that prosecutors "have continuously prosecuted the same criminal conduct" since before the statute of limitations expired.
"Even on this attempt, the filing of the indictment was bungled, as it included an errant arrest warrant that was improper," Jackson said.
"We are back in court Monday, and we will determine then whether we will seek additional time to review this latest attempt by the DA," he said, suggesting the defence might challenge Count 5 yet again.
Altogether, Weinstein is accused of raping three women and sexually assaulting two others during alleged attacks at hotels in and around Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2013.
The producer, 69, allegedly raped one of the Jane Doe victims on two separate occasions a year apart.
Weinstein pleaded not guilty to the four counts of rape and seven other sexual assault counts in a Los Angeles courtroom on July 21, his first criminal court appearance in California.
Previously convicted of rape and sex assault in Manhattan, he was extradited from the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo and flown west on July 20 after a series of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He claimed he was too ill to travel.
Australian Associated Press