Harvey Weinstein trial: Closing arguments set to begin in 2nd rape trial
Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday in the Los Angeles sexual assault trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who faces two counts of forcible rape and five counts of sexual assault involving four women – a model, a dancer , a massage therapist and a producer.
Jurors went through the testimonial marathon, hearing from around 50 witnesses, including four accusers, identified in court as Jane Does due to the nature of the allegations.
Additionally, four other women testified that similar incidents also happened to them at the hands of Weinstein. These alleged incidents are not charged in this case because they occurred outside of Los Angeles County.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all seven counts against him. His defense argued that the witnesses fabricated their stories or had consensual sex with Weinstein, and said there was no forensic evidence to support any of the allegations.
At a 2020 trial in New York, Weinstein was found guilty of criminal sexual act and third-degree rape and is currently serving a 23-year sentence for those crimes. If the Los Angeles jury – made up of four women and eight men – finds him guilty, Weinstein would face 60 years to life in prison, plus an additional five years.
The often emotional testimony at the Los Angeles trial lasted four weeks, not including a Thanksgiving break, and was punctuated intermittently by vitriolic exchanges between witnesses and attorneys.
Some of the most heated exchanges took place during the cross-examination of accuser Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a producer, actress and wife of the Governor of California, who testified that she was raped by Weinstein in 2005. Siebel Newsom described a « cat-and-mouse period » that preceded his assault.
« What you are doing today is exactly what he did to me, » Siebel Newsom said, accusing defense attorney Mark Werksman of « mental jujitsu » and verbal manipulation.
Weinstein’s attorneys do not deny the incident, but say he believed it was consensual.
Midway through the trial, four of the original 11 charges against Weinstein related to a fifth Jane Doe were dropped without explanation.