A Los Angeles jury resumed deliberations Monday in Harvey Weinstein’s second sexual assault trial, meeting for a tenth day to decide on a verdict after weeks of testimony.
The disgraced movie mogul, who is accused of using his Hollywood influence to lure women into private meetings and assault them, awaits a decision from behind bars.
Weinstein faces two counts of forcible rape and five counts of sexual assault related to accusations from four women, including Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker and the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who alleged Weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 2005.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all seven charges against him. He initially faced 11 charges, but four counts connected to an unnamed woman were dropped after she did not testify.
The jury had already deliberated for about 37 total hours when they adjourned last Wednesday, without a verdict reached.
The former film producer is already serving a 23-year sentence for a New York sexual assault conviction. His attorneys have appealed that conviction, which has placed more attention on the outcome of the trial in Los Angeles.
If the jury in Los Angeles finds him guilty, Weinstein could face 60 years to life in prison, plus an additional five years.
The Los Angeles jury has deliberated longer than the New York jury in Weinstein’s first criminal trial, in which he was convicted of criminal sex act and third-degree rape after 26 hours of deliberations.
As deliberations went on in Los Angeles, the jury asked the court a question and at least twice asked for testimony to be read back. Los Angeles Superior Court officials have not provided specifics on those requests.
The weekslong Los Angeles trial saw emotional testimony from Weinstein’s accusers – a model, a dancer, a massage therapist and Siebel Newsom – all of whom were asked to recount the details of their allegations against him, provide details of meetings with the producer from years ago, and explain their reactions to the alleged assaults.
In closing arguments, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez called Weinstein a “titan” who used his power in Hollywood to prey on and silence women.
“Rapists rape. You can look at the pattern,” fellow prosecutor Paul Thompson told jurors.
“You have irrefutable, overwhelming evidence about the nature of this man and what he did to these women,” Thompson said.
Meanwhile, Weinstein’s attorneys have maintained the allegations are either fabricated or occurred consensually as part of a “transactional relationship” with the movie producer, repeatedly saying there is no evidence of assault.
Defense attorney Alan Jackson called the accusers “fame and fortune seekers.”
The trial in Los Angeles included testimony from the four accusers identified as Jane Does in court, and other witnesses, including experts, law enforcement, friends of accusers and former aides to Weinstein.
Additionally, four women testified they were subjected to similar behavior by Weinstein in other jurisdictions.
Each morning at trial, Weinstein was brought from a correctional facility and wheeled into the Los Angeles courtroom wearing a suit and tie and holding a composition notebook.
His accusers all began their oftentimes emotional testimonies by identifying him in the courtroom as he looked on.
“He’s wearing a suit, and a blue tie and he’s staring at me,” Siebel Newsom said last month, before what was one of the most emotional moments of the trial.
On Thursday of last week, defense attorney Jackson asked jurors if they could “accept what (the Jane Does) say as gospel,” arguing what they said was a lack of forensic evidence supporting their claim.
“Five words that sum up the entirety of the prosecution’s case: ‘Take my word for it,’” Jackson said. “‘Take my word for it that he showed up at my hotel room unannounced. Take my word for it that I showed up at his hotel room. Take my word for it that I didn’t consent. Take my word for it, that I said no.’ “
Siebel Newsom described an hourslong “cat-and-mouse period,” which preceded her alleged assault. She, like other accusers, described feeling “frozen” that day.
Attorneys for Weinstein do not deny the incident occurred, but said he believed it was consensual.
Jackson called the incident “consensual, transactional sex,” adding: “Regret is not the same thing as rape. And it’s important we make that distinction in this courtroom.”
Women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing Jane Doe 2 in the case, told CNN she hopes the jury sees her client “has no motive at all to do anything but tell the truth.”
“She never sought or received any compensation … She doesn’t live in California anymore. But she is testifying because she’s been asked to testify and I hope that they see her as the young woman that she was when she met Harvey Weinstein, and the woman that she is today approximately nine to 10 years later. Her life has changed,” Allred said.
“To be willing to subject yourself to what could be a very brutal cross-examination. That takes a very special person to do that. And she is a special person. I’m very proud,” Allred said.
In her closing arguments, Martinez also highlighted the women who testified chose to do so despite knowing they would face tough conditions in court.
“The truth is that, as you sit here, we know the despicable behavior the defendant engaged in. He thought he was so powerful that people would … excuse his behavior,” Martinez said. “That’s just Harvey being Harvey. That’s just Hollywood. And for so long that’s what everyone did. Everyone just turned their heads.”
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