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Friday, February 3, 2023

Weinstein Trial: “PREDATORY” behavior divides Jury

Jury members struggle to tune their violins on charges that could lead to Weinstein's life sentence

Harvey Weinstein’s trial jury hinted on Friday that he had agreed to three of the five charges but remained divided over the two remainings, and the judge asked them to continue their deliberations.

In the early afternoon, jurors at the Manhattan Criminal Court sent magistrate James Burke a written question, asking if they could agree on only part of the charges.

The chiefs mentioned on which there would be agreement are those concerning the alleged sexual assault on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and the rape said to have suffered the aspiring actress Jessica Mann.

The two remaining counts each constitute an aggravating circumstance of “predatory” behavior. These are the most serious, likely to result in the conviction of Harvey Weinstein to life.

Justice Burke consulted the prosecution and the defense to find out their position. The defense of Harvey Weinstein said he was in favor of a partial verdict, but prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon replied that the prosecution was “not (ready) to accept” this decision “at this stage”.

The judge then called the jury back. “I will ask you to continue your deliberations,” he said, after having read them the official text which explains that it is normal for a jury to sometimes have the impression of finding themselves in a dead-end.

The magistrate did not answer the jury’s question directly and therefore did not tell them whether it was possible to reach a partial verdict, which is, however, a possibility. The jury’s question was raised on the fourth day of deliberations, a few minutes before the time scheduled for a suspension until Monday.

Throughout the week, the jurors asked that they are re-read several testimonies, mainly those of Mimi Haleyi and actress Annabella Sciorra, who claims to have been raped by Harvey Weinstein during the winter of 1993.

Annabella Sciorra’s testimony is crucial because the counts of “predator” include her allegations, to show that the producer had recurrent behavior.

The jurors, on the other hand, did not ask any questions or ask for anything concerning Jessica Mann, who is linked to three charges and whose testimony at the hearing was considerably weakened by the defense.

Harvey Weinstein has always denied any sexual assault, saying it was consensual. 

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