US court rules that Weinstein trial will go ahead in New York

Harvey Weinstein, once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, has pleaded not guilty to five charges of sexual assault relating to two women.

In this file photo taken on 26 April 2019 disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein returns to the State Supreme Court in New York, after a break in a pre-trial hearing over sexual assault charges. Picture: AFP

NEW YORK - A US court on Thursday rejected fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's attempts to have his sexual assault trial, due to start in January, moved out of New York City.

The 67-year-old's attorneys asked for the venue change, arguing that intense coverage in New York's tabloids meant Weinstein would not get a fair trial.

But five judges in a state appellate court denied the motion, court documents showed.

Weinstein, once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, has pleaded not guilty to five charges of sexual assault relating to two women.

One of the women alleges Weinstein raped her in 2013, while the other claims he forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006.

His trial is scheduled to start on 6 January 2020. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Weinstein has been accused of harassment and assault by more than 80 women, including stars such as Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd.

The original accusations against him were a catalyst for America's #MeToo movement.

Weinstein, the co-founder of Miramax and producer of Pulp Fiction, has always insisted his sexual relationships were consensual.

Prosecutors accused his defense team of trying to have the trial moved to Suffolk or Albany counties north of New York in a bid to delay the start of the trial.