Jurors in Harvey Weinstein trial appear deadlocked on the two most serious charges
Jurors in the Harvey Weinstein trial Friday appeared deadlocked on the most serious charges brought against the disgraced movie mogul as the fourth day of deliberations came to a close.
The jury of seven men and five women asked if they could be hung on one or both charges of predatory sexual assault — which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison — and unanimous on the other lesser charges.
The question was phrased as a hypothetical, and jurors did not indicate which way they were leaning on the other three lesser counts.
In response, Judge James Burke told the jurors that they must reach a unanimous verdict on every count.
“It is not uncommon for a jury to have difficulty reaching a unanimous verdict, or for it to believe they will never be able to reach a unanimous verdict,” Burke said.
He then asked the jurors to continue their deliberations.
Jurors have so far zeroed in on the accusations of Mimi Haley and “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, whose allegation is crucial to Weinstein being convicted of predatory sexual assault.
Earlier this week, jurors requested to rehear the testimony and cross-examination of Haley, who has accused the Miramax co-founder of forcibly performing oral sex on her in his SoHo apartment in 2006.
Jurors also asked to review the cross-examination of Sciorra and the testimony of her friend, actress Rosie Perez, who early in the trial told jurors that Sciorra had told her about the alleged attack in the 1990s. In addition, they wanted a list of anyone Sciorra allegedly told about the attack.
Weinstein, 69, faces five counts of sexual assault in connection with the alleged assaults on Sciorra, Haley and Jessica Mann, a once-aspiring actress who has accused the movie mogul of raping her on two occasions, in hotels in New York and Southern California.
Weinstein and his lawyers have insisted that his encounters with the women were consensual.
During her tearful testimony, Sciorra told jurors that Weinstein barged into her Gramercy Park apartment in late 1993 or early 1994 and raped her.
Sciorra’s allegation was too old to prosecute individually, but it was factored into the top count of the indictment. In essence, the jury needs to believe Sciorra’s testimony — and the accounts of either Haley or Mann — in order to convict Weinstein of predatory sexual assault.
On Tuesday, jurors asked to see the blueprint of the SoHo apartment where Weinstein allegedly assaulted Haley, a former production assistant on the Weinstein Co. show “Project Runway.” And they requested to see emails Haley sent to Weinstein, some of which occurred after the alleged attack and appeared friendly in nature.
And Wednesday, jurors asked for a slideshow presented by expert witness Barbara Ziv, a forensic psychiatrist called by prosecutors who attempted to knock down so-called rape myths — including the notions that the truthfulness of a rape allegation can be evaluated by how an accuser behaves afterward.
Legal experts have predicted that continued communication between Weinstein and accusers Mann and Haley could be a point of contention for jurors.
Jury deliberations are set to resume Monday.
“Don’t do anything that will put your health in jeopardy over the weekend,” Burke told the jurors as he dismissed them. “We need all 12 of you to reach a verdict.”
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