Harvey Weinstein’s fate is now officially in the hands of the jury.
The seven-man, five-woman Manhattan Supreme Court panel in the rape trial of the disgraced Hollywood moviemaker began considering the sex crimes charges against him Tuesday.
Deliberations began shortly after Justice James Burke finished giving jurors detailed legal instructions on how to decide whether Weinstein is guilty.
Earlier in the morning, Burke had slapped a gag order on Weinstein’s defense team, after his lead lawyer, Donna Rotunno, penned an op-ed over the weekend imploring the jury to acquit the fallen Hollywood tycoon.
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon had protested the piece to the judge, calling the article in Newsweek magazine “inappropriate” and asking for Weinstein to be “remanded” as punishment.
Weinstein — who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 90 women since 2017, when The New York Times and The New Yorker published bombshell exposés into allegations of sexual abuse by the filmmaker — is charged with two counts of rape, two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of criminal sexual act.
The charges stem from the allegations of former “Project Runway” production assistant Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi, who said he forced oral sex on her on July 10, 2006, at his Soho apartment; onetime aspiring actress Jessica Mann, claimed Weinstein raped her on March 18, 2013, at Midtown’s DoubleTree Hotel; and “The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, who accused Weinstein of raping her in the winter of 1993-1994 at her Gramercy Park apartment.
Deliberations in the #MeToo-era trial, which started Jan. 7 with jury selection, follow weeks of graphic and emotional testimony from Haleyi, Mann and Sciorra, as well as “prior-bad-acts witnesses” Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff and Lauren Young.
Weinstein is not charged with any wrongdoing involving Dunning, Wulff and Young.
Weinstein, a 67-year-old father of five, has maintained his innocence from the onset, pleading not guilty to all of the charges.
He has claimed that all of his sexual encounters were consensual.
The once-powerful producer never took the witness stand at trial, though he told reporters he “wanted” to testify.
Upon entering the courtroom Tuesday, Weinstein told reporters that he was “feeling good” as he pushed his walker.
Source: Read Full Article