Harvey Weinstein Trial: Gloria Allred Allowed to Remain in Courtroom Despite Defense Motion

“She may remain and she should certainly be on the witness list,” Justice James Burke says

gloria allred
Getty Images

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents several of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers, will be allowed to remain in the courtroom during the disgraced mogul’s criminal trial in New York City.

On Wednesday, Justice James Burke denied the defense’s motion to eject her during the proceedings. “There would be no actual harm as to impeaching her simply for having observed the trial,” Burke said. “She may remain and she should certainly be on the witness list.”

Weinstein attorney Damon Cheronis expressed concern that her presence could potentially allow her to coach or influence witness testimony and that Allred herself may be called as an impeachment witness. “It’s not because I’m trying to attack Ms. Allred. I’m trying to protect Mr. Weinstein’s right to not have witnesses in this courtroom,” Cheronis said.

Assistant district attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon objected on behalf of Allred’s team, arguing that the trial witnesses and Weinstein accuers represented by Allred want their lawyer in the room when they testify and that Allred feels she has the right to do so under the Victims’ Rights Act. Illuzzi-Orbon also said the prosecution had “no reason to think” Allred would do something untoward in her capacity as an attorney, such as influencing witness testimony based on what she observed in the courtroom.

Burke said he welcomed the defense’s motion but said it was “far from likely and certainly not definitive” that Allred would be called as an impeachment witness, and that the court was not going to exclude her just because she represented some of the witnesses.

Allred was not present in the courtroom on Wednesday morning, though she was there for the first two days, seated in the front row. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Allred said she was pleased that the court denied the defense’s request.

“If called as a witness, I intend to fully protect my client’s right to confidentially communicate with me, which is protected by the attorney client privilege confidentiality,” she added. “I cannot be compelled to answer anything that is confidential communication with my client or that is work product.”

Allred said the defense’s motion was a “standard tactic” often used against her, and she believed Weinstein — and his defense — made the request because he “fears” her. While she does not anticipate being in the courtroom for the remainder of jury selection, she told TheWrap, she will be present for opening statements and when her clients testify.