• Wed. Feb 8th, 2023

Key moments from Harvey Weinstein trial in Los Angeles

BySwanzi010

Dec 21, 2022

Harvey Weinstein had been charged with raping and sexually assaulting two women and committing sexual battery against two others.

After a month of evidence from 44 witnesses in Los Angeles, a jury has found Weinstein guilty of one count of rape.

He was found not guilty of sexual battery by restraint of another woman.

The jury was also unable to reach verdicts on allegations linked to two other women.

Currently two years into a 23-year sentence for previous convictions on rape and sexual assault charges in New York, Weinstein was held in jail throughout his latest trial.

The Los Angeles trial was widely viewed as symbolic – but it assumed greater significance in light of the producer being granted permission to appeal against his New York convictions.

The 70-year-old was charged with crimes against four of the witnesses who testified.

Three of the women – a model, a model/actress, and a massage therapist – gave evidence anonymously.

Filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California governor Gavin Newsom, waived her right to anonymity.

The jury were unable to reach verdicts on charges relating to Newsom.

Four other women who are not involved with the charges also told the court that Weinstein sexually assaulted them.

Here are the key moments from the trial:

The defence

Weinstein’s lawyer told the trial that the prosecution case relied entirely on asking them to trust women whose evidence showed they were untrustworthy.

In his closing arguments, Alan Jackson said: “‘Take my word for it’. Five words that sum up the entirety of the prosecution’s case.”

Weinstein's lawyer Alan Jackson. Pic: AP
Image:
Weinstein’s lawyer Alan Jackson argued the prosecution case was ‘smoke and mirrors’. Pic: AP

Everything else prosecutors presented “was smoke and mirrors”, he argued.

Mr Jackson urged jurors to look past the drama and emotion of the testimony of the four women, and focus on the factual evidence.

He said jurors were being asked to “believe us because we’re mad, believe us because we cried”, adding: “Well fury does not make fact. And tears do not make truth.”

Mr Jackson said the stories of two women who Weinstein was alleged to have sexually assaulted on consecutive days in 2013 “simply never happened”.

The defence lawyer also said the alleged rape and assault of the other two women in 2005 and 2010 were “100% consensual” encounters that the women engaged in for the sake of career advancement that they later became “desperate to relabel” as non-consensual.

“These were women with whom Harvey had transactional relationships and transactional sex,” he said.

Mr Jackson argued that the women were willing to exchange sex for favours or status when the incidents happened in 2005 and 2010, but after the #MeToo explosion around Weinstein with stories in the New York Times and the New Yorker in 2017, they were regretful.

“They played the game. They hate it now, unequivocally,” he said. “But what about then? What about before the 2017 dogpile started on Mr Weinstein?”

He stressed the importance of the judge’s instruction, that if jurors found any significant thing a witness said was untrue, they should consider disbelieving everything the witness said.

The prosecution

Prosecutors, closing their case, branded Weinstein a “predator” and a “degenerate rapist”.

Deputy district attorney Marlene Martinez emphasised the similarities between his accusers’ testimony.

“They all describe the same conduct by the same man,” she said.

After arranging to meet with a woman at a hotel he would find a way to get them to his suite where he would then go from “charming and complimentary to aggressive and demanding”.

Ms Martinez said: “For this predator, hotels were his trap.

“Confined within those walls, victims were not able to run from his hulking mass.

“People were not able to hear their screams, they were not able to see them cower.”

She urged jurors to complete Weinstein’s fall from grace by convicting him in California.

She said: “It is time for the defendant’s reign of terror to end.

“It is time for the kingmaker to be brought to justice.”

Prosecutors branded Weinstein a 'predator' and a 'degenerate rapist'
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Prosecutors branded Weinstein a ‘predator’ and a ‘degenerate rapist’

‘I was kind of hysterical through tears’

The first of Weinstein’s accusers, a model and actress who was in LA for a film festival at the time she was raped by the producer in 2013, told the court he knocked on her hotel room door and she let him in.

She said Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on her hotel bed. “I was kind of hysterical through tears,” she said. “I kept saying ‘no, no, no’.”

She said she physically feared Weinstein, who outweighed her by 100 pounds or more, and considered running or hitting or biting him.

She said by the time Weinstein took her into the bathroom to rape her, she had stopped physically resisting, though still objected verbally. “I would just freeze, like my body wouldn’t listen.”

He was found guilty of three counts, including rape.

Woman testifies for second time

Just one woman who gave evidence during the New York trial has testified in LA. The model, who was aspiring to be a screenwriter, had set up a meeting with Weinstein about a script she was working on in 2013, the court heard.

She described Weinstein as a “monster”, and said he led her into a bathroom, quickly took off his suit and got briefly in the shower, then stepped out and blocked her from leaving.

“I was disgusted,” she said. “I had never seen a big guy like that naked.”

She said she backed up against a sink and turned away from him. He then unzipped her dress and groped her with one hand as he masturbated with the other, the court heard.

The jury did not reach a verdict on this count.

Masseuse tells court ‘I was in shock’

A massage therapist accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her in 2010, when she was 28, after he hired her to go to his hotel room for a treatment.

When she was in the bathroom washing her hands following the massage, she said Weinstein entered, blocked the door, and began masturbating in front of her.

She began to cry as she told the court: “I was terrified.” Weinstein blocked the door and pushed her against a wall and groped her breasts before finishing, the court heard.

“I was in shock. I felt frozen, I felt paralysed,” she said.

The jury found Weinstein not guilty of sexual battery.

Filmmaker cries as she tells of alleged rape

Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Pic: AP
Image:
Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Pic: AP

In an emotional testimony, Ms Siebel Newsom, 48, told the court she was 31 when she was allegedly attacked by Weinstein during what she thought was a business meeting to try to build her career in 2005.

Spending two-and-a-half hours on the witness stand, she was in tears as she told the court she found herself unexpectedly alone with the Hollywood mogul in a hotel suite.

Asked to describe her feelings after Weinstein allegedly emerged from the bathroom in a robe and began groping her while he masturbated, she said: “Horror! Horror! I’m trembling. I’m like a rock, I’m frigid. This is my worst nightmare.”

Ms Siebel Newsom said she told Weinstein that “this was not why I came here” as she physically tried to back away.

The jury did not reach verdicts on these counts.

Source : Sky.com

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