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Weinstein’s Lawyer Tried to Intimidate Witnesses, Prosecutors Charge

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has asked the judge overseeing Harvey Weinstein’s retrial on sex crimes charges to urge the lead defense lawyer to stop making public statements that prosecutors said were intended to intimidate and to attack the “credibility and character” of witnesses.

In a letter to the judge filed on Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court, prosecutors asked Justice Curtis Farber to remind the lawyer, Arthur Aidala, of his “ethical obligations” regarding out-of-court statements under the New York Rules of Professional Conduct.

They accused him of violating the rules with critical public statements about Miriam Haley, a television production assistant. She testified at Mr. Weinstein’s 2020 trial that he forced oral sex on her in his Manhattan apartment in July 2006.

Mr. Weinstein, a former Hollywood producer, was convicted of committing a criminal sexual act against Ms. Haley and raping another woman, but the convictions were overturned last month after New York’s highest court ruled that he had not had a fair trial. At a news conference days later, Mr. Aidala accused Ms. Haley of lying to the jury and said he would diligently prepare to cross-examine her at the retrial if she “dares to come and show her face here.”

Mr. Aidala’s comments went beyond “mere posturing” and were “designed to let Ms. Haley know that if she testifies, Mr. Aidala will make it as unpleasant for her as possible,” prosecutors said in the letter. In footnotes, they pushed back on Mr. Aidala’s claims that Ms. Haley had lied to the jury.

Mr. Aidala did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday morning.

Mr. Aidala’s news conference followed a court hearing on May 1 at which prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, led by the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, reaffirmed the office’s plan to retry Mr. Weinstein. Prosecutors said in court that “it was a strong case in 2020,” and that “it remains a strong case in 2024.”

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