On day four of Harvey Weinstein’s trial, there was yet more drama in court – but this time with the prosecution team. State Supreme Court Judge Burke informed the court that prosecutor, Joan Illuzzi, was facing a “medical situation’ and that she would need to seek medical treatment.
“Miss Illuzi has gone to the Doctor’s appointment” he said and they would need to reconvene tomorrow for jury screening.
Before this medical drama unfolded, Judge James Burke returned his verdict on two motions filed by the defence team yesterday. The first was for Judge Burke to recuse himself in an extraordinary seven page motion on the bases that he was “anumis” towards Harvey Weinstein following admonishment by the Judge for repeated use of his mobile phone in court despite numerous warnings from court staff. Judge Burke said he would throw Harvey Weinstein in jail if he continued. In response to the motion Judge Burke calmly said “I never meant that I was going to put your client in jail for life, nor did I mean that I had pre-judged whether Harvey Weinstein is guilty or not guilty or innocent of the charges.” He continued on, “All I meant to do was scare him enough to discontinue using his phone. The court does not know the verdict and has not made a call on what it might or might not be.”
Judge Burke further commented in writing, “A judge admonishing a defendant for repeatedly not following the rules of the courtroom does not show bias, but rather simply a judge maintaining order and decorum in his courtroom.”
The second motion filed related to the media and the defence saying it was a “carnival” at court. Once again, Judge Burke said the courtroom was half full and the media had behaved well and were not biased and, in fact, Harvey Weinstein was being treated more favourably than most defendants. So far 92 potential jurors have been excused on the grounds they claim that they cannot be impartial. Jury screening will continue tomorrow, Friday 10 January, all being well.