Harvey Weinstein leaves court with his lawyer, Ben Brafman.

Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY

Weinstein judge declines to dismiss charges in rape case, sets pretrial hearing for March

December 20, 2018 - 10:00 am

By Eric Levenson and Elizabeth Joseph, CNN

(CNN) -- Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul whose downfall helped launch the #MeToo movement, is due back in New York court on March 7 after a judge Thursday morning ordered a pretrial hearing in the rape case.

It was a remarkably quick resolution to a highly anticipated and pivotal appearance in the criminal proceedings.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to five felony charges, including predatory sexual assault and rape, in connection with two women in separate incidents. A state judge is expected to rule on a motion by Weinstein's attorney, Ben Brafman, to dismiss the remaining counts.

RELATED: Manhattan DA drops part of Weinstein case

Though publicly reviled since last year's harrowing stories in The New York Times and The New Yorker, the criminal case against Weinstein has shown some signs of unraveling in recent months.

In October, prosecutors dismissed one charge against Weinstein after officials learned of inconsistencies in one accuser's story and learned that a detective had failed to bring those issues to prosecutors.

The detective told an accuser to delete cell phone messages before turning her phones over to authorities, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said. The detective was taken off the case.

Brafman argued the case was "irreparably tainted by police misconduct" and wanted it dismissed. In lieu of that, Weinstein's attorney also had asked for an evidentiary hearing to examine conduct by police and prosecutors in the case.

Weinstein, once one of the most powerful film producers in Hollywood, has been accused by a number of women, including several well-known actresses, of using his influence to sexually harass and assault them and then to avoid repercussions. His downfall led women across the world to speak out about similar allegations involving powerful figures abusing their power, a cultural force known as the #MeToo movement.

But despite its power, the #MeToo movement has had few test cases in criminal court. Comedian Bill Cosby's conviction in April was the first -- and, so far, only -- celebrity criminal trial of the #MeToo era.

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