Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys filed an eight-page motion on Wednesday asking Judge James Burke to recuse himself from the disgraced mogul’s case for what they call a lack of fair and impartial treatment. The motion for recusal is based on comments from Judge Burke yesterday in which he scolded Weinstein for using his phone after being repeatedly told not to. “Is this really the way you want to end up in jail for the rest of your life, by texting in violation of a court order?” Burke was quoted as saying in the motion. Weinstein’s defense called the comments “prejudicial and inflammatory,” saying they created a situation in which the court’s “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Weinstein, 67, faces five charges, including predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape involving two women. He has been accused by at least 80 women of sexual misconduct.
On Wednesday, Judge Burke denied a separate motion from the defense team to bar attorney Gloria Allred—who represents multiple Weinstein accusers—from the courtroom because she may be called as a witness. “Ms. Allred should not be allowed to sit in court, watch that testimony and share that testimony with her clients,” said Damon Cheroni, one of Weinstein’s lawyers. “I’m not trying to attack Ms. Allred, I’m trying to protect Mr. Weinstein’s right to a fair trial.”