Hollywood Scandals: Harvey Weinstein Sex Crime Trial First Week

The first week of Harvey Weinstein’s sex-crimes trial ends today.

Friday kicked off with a heated courtroom exchange between the judge and a member of Weinstein’s legal team who filed a motion requesting potential jurors be interviewed in private.

Attorney Arthur Aidala suggested potential jurors are unable to speak freely in the screening process given the media attention surrounding the case.
“Most people do not speak in front of international media,” he told Judge James Burke. “In order for citizens to be as honest and forthright as possible, we ask that jury selection be done in private.”

Burke replied: “That’s against the law! I’ll read this, but I’m generally familiar with this form of the law… I’m disagreeing with you on virtually every level.”

 

Harvey Weinstein et al. standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Harvey Weinstein, center, arrives at federal court, Jan. 6, 2020, in New York. The disgraced movie mogul faces allegations of rape and sexual assault. Jury selection begins this week.© Seth Wenig, AP Harvey Weinstein, center, arrives at federal court, Jan. 6, 2020, in New York.

The disgraced movie mogul faces allegations of rape and sexual assault. Jury selection begins this week. The ex-producer’s legal team has had little success convincing Burke to rule in their favor. Throughout the week, Weinstein’s defense filed motions to have Burke excused from the case and accusers’ attorney Gloria Allred barred from the courtroom. The legal team also requested the trial be adjourned following new sex-crime charges filed in Los Angeles. All of the motions were denied.

The trial hit another snag Thursday when prosecutor Joan Illuzzi suffered a medical emergency – she had something in her eye, according to the district attorney’s office – and was forced to leave court before the third round of jury pre-selection.

On Friday, she told the judge she was feeling “much, much better.”

Jury screening resumed Friday and will continue through next week, with opening statements targeted for January 22.

Weinstein, 67, is accused of five sex crimes in New York involving encounters with two women. The embattled movie mogul was charged in May 2018, has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has been free on $1 million bail (recently raised to $5 million). He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

If convicted, he could receive a life sentence.

Earlier this week, he was charged in Los Angeles with four sex crimes. Weinstein is accused of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over two days in February 2013.

A trial in that case is not expected to occur until after the New York case is resolved.

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