Harvey Weinstein’s legal team has asked for the disgraced movie mogul’s criminal trial to be moved outside of New York City.
Lawyer Arthur Aidala has filed a motion with the state appellate court suggesting the trial be moved to upstate Albany County or Suffolk County on Long Island.
He cited the intense media coverage and the circus-like atmosphere surrounding Weinstein’s past court appearances in Manhattan, noting that Weinstein’s name was mentioned online on the New York Post’s gossip column Page Six more than 11,000 times.
“It is safe to say that New York City is the least likely place on earth where Mr Weinstein could receive a fair trial, where jurors could hear evidence, deliberate, and render a verdict in an atmosphere free of intimidation from pressure to deliver a result that the politicians, the activists, the celebrities and the media demand,” Mr Aidala wrote.
The court papers also argued that Manhattan is the epicentre of the global #metoo movement, which took off after numerous women accused Weinstein of wrongdoing.
“It is difficult to conceive of a similar case in recent memory that has generated more inflammatory press coverage,” Mr Aidala wrote.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with raping a woman in 2013 and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.
He has pleaded not guilty and has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.