Jury of seven Males and 5 Ladies Chosen for Harvey Weinstein Rape Trial
After fielding a whole bunch of potential jurors, from a supermodel to a survivor of sexual assault, legal professionals on Friday agreed on a jury of seven males and 5 ladies to resolve the destiny of Harvey Weinstein, the movie producer who faces life in jail if convicted of rape and sexual assault.
It took 9 days for prosecutors and protection legal professionals to choose the 12 jurors and three alternates, who will hear testimony in a trial anticipated to final a number of weeks and to characteristic a star-studded parade of witnesses.
Among the many witnesses who’re slated to testify is Emmy-nominated Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra, who says Weinstein raped her in 1993. Actors Salma Hayek and Charlize Theron might also take the stand or be talked about in the course of the trial.
Weinstein, who additionally faces sexual assault prices in Los Angeles, has pleaded not-guilty within the New York case, which alleges he raped a lady in a Manhattan resort room in 2013 and sexually assaulted one other in 2006. He has additionally denied different allegations of non-consensual intercourse, a few of which, together with Sciorra’s, contain incidents that fell exterior the statute of limitations and couldn’t be prosecuted.
The Manhattan courtroom was crammed to capability with media and onlookers as Weinstein watched the jury choice, a course of that started Jan. 7 and that was difficult by the high-profile nature of the Hollywood-centric case.
As the choice course of neared its end Friday, protection lawyer Arthur Aidala mentioned the jurors wouldn’t be seeing or listening to video or audio of any of the alleged crimes. “It’s going to be ‘he said, she said,’” Aidala mentioned.
The trial marks a essential juncture within the period of the #MeToo movement, which has pressured a rethinking of how sexual harassment is dealt with in workplaces. Justice James Burke advised potential jurors the trial, anticipated to final a number of weeks, “is not a referendum” on both the motion or on sexual harassment. Each points, although, are inescapable on this case, as mirrored within the jury choice course of.
Potential jurors have been grilled on a spread of issues, together with whether or not they believed some individuals may attempt to get forward of their careers by having sexual relationships with colleagues, and whether or not they had learn Catch and Kill, the best-selling ebook detailing journalist Ronan Farrow’s investigation of Weinstein. Some have been requested in the event that they understood that sexual assault victims typically don’t report the crimes instantly.
The method grew to become heated, with prosecutors at one level accusing the protection of attempting to maintain white ladies—who signify the vast majority of Weinstein’s accusers—off the panel.
“They are systematically eliminating a class of people from this jury,” Assistant District Lawyer Joan Illuzzi mentioned.
Illuzzi additionally known as it “ridiculous” and an try to preserve an “intelligent” lady off the panel when Aidala sought to strike from the jury pool a 26-year-old lady. Aidala mentioned the girl “doesn’t have the life experience” or the understanding of what tradition was like within the early 90’s, when a few of Weinstein’s alleged abuse occurred.
A number of dozens of potential jurors have been dismissed after saying they may not be neutral, together with at the very least one lady who mentioned she was a sexual assault sufferer.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid, one other potential juror, advised the court docket she may choose Weinstein pretty regardless of having met him up to now, however the protection staff and prosecutors dismissed her over considerations her presence is likely to be disruptive.
Protection legal professionals sought to have the trial moved out of New York, complaining about what they known as the “carnival-like atmosphere” surrounding the case and citing widespread media consideration. Additionally they tried to steer Burke to challenge a “cooling-off period”—or a delay to permit the publicity to dissipate—after Weinstein’s notoriety grew on Jan. 6, a day after the New York trial opened, when prosecutors in Los Angeles introduced their very own rape and sexual assault prices towards the previous Miramax head.
“It is the talk of the town right this moment,” Aidala mentioned as he waved native newspapers with front-page Weinstein headlines on the second day of the trial.
Burke denied each requests.
If Weinstein, 67, is acquitted in New York, he faces one other trial in California, the place he may obtain as much as 28 years in jail if convicted of prices there.