An important pre-trial hearing in Harvey Weinstein’s sex assault case could be held in secret if a judge rules against news organisations fighting to keep the courtroom open.

Both the prosecution and defence have asked that Friday’s hearing dealing with trial strategy and potential witnesses be held behind closed doors.

They say they want to protect Weinstein’s right to a fair trial and shield the identities of women who have accused the disgraced movie mogul of wrongdoing.

Lawyers for the news organisations, including The Associated Press and The New York Times, are due to appear before Judge James Burke before he rules.

They argue that the sides have not met a high legal standard for closing the court.

Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.