Federal Judge Issues Gag Order, Document Clampdown In Harvey Weinstein Extortion Case

In a remarkably broad court ruling, a federal judge today issued a blanket gag order in the Harvey Weinstein extortion case, while also ordering that a variety of future court filings only be shared with her and opposing counsel in the criminal case.

Judge Irene Berger’s order, filed today in U.S. District Court in West Virginia, makes it appear as if the felony case against defendant Vivek Shah, 25, involves national security or terrorism concerns--not an amateurish shakedown attempt targeting several wealthy individuals, including the Hollywood mogul.

Along with barring Shah, prosecutors, defense counsel, potential witnesses, alleged victims, investigators, and others from talking to the media, Berger (pictured above) has decided that “any and all motions, discovery requests, responses and supplemental requests and responses shall be filed directly with chambers and served on the opposing party only.”

These documents, of course, are routinely filed publicly and made available via the federal court system’s online public access system. However, the 57-year-old Berger appears intent on handling the Shah case as if it were a private matter.

Berger was appointed to the federal bench in 2009 by President Barack Obama. Weinstein is a leading Obama supporter who this month hosted the president at a $38,500-a-plate reelection fundraiser at his waterfront Connecticut estate.

Shah, charged last week in a four-count felony indictment, is currently locked up in Beaver, West Virginia. Seen in the adjacent mug shot (click to enlarge), he is expected to soon appear for a federal court detention hearing.