• Monday, Jul 04, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Judge in Weinstein rape trial says case is not a referendum on #MeToo movement

  • Published at 10:57 pm January 17th, 2020
Film-producer-Harvey-Weinstein-departs-his-sexual-assault-trial-at-New-York-Criminal-Court-in-the-Manhattan-borough-of-New-York-City,-New-York,-U.S
Film producer Harvey Weinstein departs his sexual assault trial at New York Criminal Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, January 16 Reuters

'You must decide this case on the evidence'

Four men and three women were chosen on Thursday as jurors in the rape trial of Harvey Weinstein, as the judge cautioned against using the case to make a broader statement about the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges in New York of assaulting two women, and faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault.

Since 2017, more than 80 women, including many famous actors, have accused him of sexual misconduct dating back decades. Weinstein has denied the allegations, saying any sexual encounters he had were consensual.

The allegations helped fuel the #MeToo movement, in which women have gone public with misconduct allegations against powerful men in business, entertainment and politics.

“This trial is not a referendum on the #MeToo movement,” Justice James Burke told the potential jurors on Thursday. “You must decide this case on the evidence.”

Prosecutors, Weinstein’s lawyers and Burke are striving to select 12 jurors and six alternates before opening statements, which are expected to begin on January 22.

Jurors, all of whom had already passed a round of pre-screening and submitted written questionnaires, were questioned in groups of 20 by the lawyers in the case.

Prosecutors asked whether jurors would be able to convict Weinstein on the basis of witness testimony, without other evidence.

Defense lawyer Damon Cheronis asked one group whether they would consider the cross-examination of a woman who said she was assaulted as “victim-shaming,” and whether they thought it was possible that a woman might “reframe” a consensual sexual encounter as an assault years later.

Most of the questioning drew only nods in response from the potential jurors. After questioning, each side was given an opportunity to strike jurors from the pool.

At one point, while jurors were out of the room, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi accused Weinstein’s lawyers of systematically striking “every white female” from the pool.

Donna Rotunno, one of Weinstein’s lawyers, did not dispute striking the white women, but said there were reasons for each.

“We are here to try to pick a fair jury,” she said. “This is not some conspiracy against the state.”

Burke rejected Illuzzi’s argument and allowed all the strikes to stand.

The seven chosen jurors include a woman who works at a sports venue, a woman who works as a security guard and a man who works in banking.

Weinstein’s trial began on January 6 and is expected to last up to two months.

Weinstein, once one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers, made his mark with critically acclaimed films such as “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.”

On Wednesday, Weinstein filed a last-minute motion with a New York appellate court to have his trial delayed and moved out of Manhattan, arguing that the “carnival-like atmosphere” surrounding the case made it impossible for him to get a fair trial.

The court denied the request for a delay and will rule on the request to move the trial by next week, according to Arthur Aidala, one of Weinstein’s lawyers.

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail