Gigi Hadid was officially dismissed as a juror in the rape and sexual assault trial of Harvey Weinstein on Thursday as jury selection stretched into its eighth day.
The supermodel was told she had not made the cut despite telling a judge on Monday that she thought she could ‘keep an open mind on the facts’. The defense and prosecutors agreed later that having her on the jury would be too much of a commotion. She left the court shortly after her arrival Thursday.
It comes after Weinstein’s legal team renewed their demand that the trial be moved out of New York City, citing ‘flash mob’ protests, a ‘media and entertainment circus’ and the appearance of Hadid, 24, in the jury pool. Some potential jurors have also been posting on social media about their involvement in the case, violating court rules that could land them behind bars, Judge James Burke said Wednesday.
In all, more than 600 potential jurors have been summoned for the high-profile case. Many were eliminated from contention early on after indicating they couldn’t be fair and impartial. Fewer than 200 will be back for additional questioning beginning Thursday.
Burke said he expects a panel of 12 jurors and six alternates to be seated in time for opening statements and testimony on January 22. He told prospective jurors that he expected the trial to finish up in early March.
The defense, having lost an earlier change of venue request, said the ‘carnival-like atmosphere’ surrounding the trial show Weinstein won’t get a fair shake in his hometown.
Weinstein, 67, is accused of raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulting another in 2006. The former studio boss behind such Oscar winners as ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love’ has said any sexual activity was consensual.
Fewer than 200 potential jurors will be back for additional questioning beginning Thursday. Hadid, pictured, was one of them
The defense, having lost an earlier change of venue request, said the ‘carnival-like atmosphere’ surrounding jury selection, coupled with the frenzy over supermodel Gigi Hadid’s appearance in the jury pool and social media comments by prospective jurors showed Weinstein won’t get a fair shake in his hometown. Hadid is pictured arriving at court on Thursday
Weinstein’s lawyers have slammed his trial’s ‘carnival’ atmosphere as jury selection stretched into an eighth day Thursday with 200 potential jurors remaining. The shamed producer is pictured arriving at court on Thursday
Weinstein, 67, is accused of raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulting another in 2006. The former studio boss behind such Oscar winners as ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love’ has said any sexual activity was consensual. He is pictured arriving at court on Thursday
In the last few days, Judge Burke has been amplifying his warnings about social media, turning last week’s posts into a cautionary tale as he’s welcomed groups of 120 or so potential jurors into his Manhattan courtroom.
‘The court was alerted recently that a few prospective jurors from last week went on Facebook and Twitter as if I had’t just said not to, what was it, a hundred times? A thousand times? Was anything I said ambiguous?’ Burke said, warning the latest batch of prospective jurors not to do the same.
Walking the latest batches of prospective jurors through what to expect – and what not to do – the judge said anyone posting about their jury service in the Weinstein case faces being held in contempt of court and consequences including up to 30 days in jail. He warned them not to speak about the case with anyone.
Weinstein’s lawyers raised the social media issue in court papers last week. They cited postings from several people they said were prospective jurors as they made an unsuccessful push to conduct the remainder of jury selection in private, out of the view of the news media and the public.
One man purportedly in the running for Weinstein’s jury tweeted about leveraging ‘serving on the jury of a high-profile case’ to promote a novel he wrote. Another potential juror reacted with a laughing emoji when someone asked if she’d been picked, according to Weinstein’s lawyers.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid arrives at a Manhattan courthouse on Thursday for Harvey Weinstein’s jury selection in his trial
Hadid had been called as a potential juror in Weinstein’s trial, adding a fresh celebrity twist to the high-profile proceedings
The supermodel, pictured, was told on Thursday she had not made the cut despite telling a judge she could ‘keep an open mind on the facts’. The defense and prosecutors agreed that having her on the jury would be too much of a commotion
The intersection of big data capabilities and prevalence of social media has transformed the business of jury research in the United States, which once meant gleaning information about potential jurors from car bumper stickers or the appearance of a home.
Now, consultants scour Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other social media platforms for hard-to-find comments or ‘likes’ in discussion groups or even selfies of a juror wearing a potentially biased t-shirt.
‘This is a whole new generation of information than we had in the past,’ said Jeffrey Frederick, the director of Jury Research Services at the National Legal Research Group Inc.
Weinstein’s lead attorney Donna Rotunno arrives at court on Thursday carrying a folder labelled ‘Jurors’
Harvey Weinstein enters Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday. The disgraced movie mogul and his lawyers spent the first hour of Wednesday´s court session behind closed doors, working with prosecutors to whittle down the pool of prospective jurors by examining responses to a questionnaire each was asked to fill out
Why the jury selection process will take up to two weeks and how they will be selected
Selecting the jury for the Hollywood mogul’s rape and sexual assault trial is likely to be a painstaking, weeks-long process, made complicated by the high stakes, heavy publicity and public revulsion toward him.
Jury selection is expected to stretch on for at least two weeks, far longer than for a non-celebrity trial, with lawyers delving into each potential juror’s knowledge and opinions about the case. Opening statements shouldn’t be expected before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on January 20, the judge said.
The prospective jurors were given questionnaires asking, among other things, if they could ignore media coverage and decide the case based only on evidence heard in court. They were also told the trial will last six weeks, which could weed out many parents, college students and others with pressing day-to-day obligations.
Jury questionnaires are commonly used to identify subject areas like their knowledge of and potential links to the case or any prior experiences with law enforcement that can then allow follow-up questions back in the courtroom before selection.
Potential jurors raise their hands and explain why they can’t serve on the jury of film producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial
‘The defense team is concerned about widespread media coverage of sexual assault and harassment claims against Weinstein, and of jurors prejudging the case,’ said Cornell University law professor Valerie Hans. On the other side of the case, ‘prosecutors are wary of prospective jurors who might reveal a predisposition to blame the victims, even in this age of #MeToo.’
Prospective jurors were introduced as a group to Weinstein and were read a list of names that could come up at trial, including actresses Salma Hayek, Charlize Theron and Rosie Perez.
New pools of prospective jurors will be summoned to court each morning in the coming days – around 120 per day will be called. A jury summons was sent to 2,000 New Yorkers – five times the number for a typical trial.
Experts said lawyers for Weinstein and the prosecution would need to be wary of jurors who may try to mask their bias in order to serve on a headline-grabbing trial.
Some jurors may seek to use the trial as a means of advancing a personal cause, a concern in a case that has become a flashpoint for ending sexual harassment.
Weinstein in October lost a bid to move the trial to suburban Long Island or to Albany, New York state’s capital. He said intense media scrutiny made it impossible for jurors to give him a fair trial in Manhattan.
The defense also asked that the jury be sequestered, a request the judge denied.
The disgraced movie mogul and his lawyers spent the first hour of Wednesday´s court session behind closed doors, working with prosecutors to whittle down the pool of prospective jurors by examining responses to a questionnaire each was asked to fill out.
The survey asked, among other things, if they could ignore media coverage and decide the case based only on evidence heard in court. They were also asked if they or someone they knew had been a victim of sexual violence.
About 70 of the 120 prospective jurors summoned to court Wednesday were asked to return Thursday, though some could find themselves sent home rather quickly once the lawyers get a chance to read through their questionnaires.
The remainder of Wednesday’s group was dismissed for various reasons, most of them because they indicated they could not be fair and impartial.
Mazdack Rassi, a production studio co-founder whose fashion editor wife appeared on Weinstein-produced ‘Project Runway: All Stars,’ was rejected after saying he knew the producer and did not think he could be impartial.
The proceedings were interrupted at 11am last Friday by the sound of chanting and percussion instruments bellowing through the courthouse window as an all-female protest against Weinstein was staged outside
The some sixty demonstrators, affiliated with the Chilean feminist organization Las Tesis, performed ‘A Rapist in Your Path’, a Chilean feminist performance piece that protests violence against women
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi, left, and Donna Rotunno, attorney for Harvey Weinstein, right, at court Thursday
Since 2017, more than 80 women, including many famous actresses, 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.
Weinstein’s trial kicked off on Jan. 6 and is expected to last months.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW? THE CHARGES AGAINST HARVEY WEINSTEIN
Harvey Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women in New York.
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct dating back decades but he only faces five criminal counts in New York – two counts of rape, one count of criminal sexual act and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
He faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault.
One of the women Weinstein was charged with assaulting, former production assistant Mimi Haleyi, has said that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2006. Prosecutors say Weinstein raped the second woman, who has not been publicly identified, in 2013.
Harvey Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women in New York. More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct dating back decades but he only faces five criminal counts
Jury selection began January 7 but finding impartial New York City jurors amid the media frenzy surrounding the Weinstein case will be a challenge for both legal teams, experts said.
Lawyers will likely question potential jurors about their knowledge and opinion of the case, their work history and whether they have been victims of sexual misconduct.
The trial is expected to last for around six weeks.
Los Angeles prosecutors have also charged Weinstein with sexually assaulting two women there on successive nights during Oscar week in 2013.
Lawyers for Weinstein had no immediate comment on the new charges, though he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Weinstein faces up to 28 years in state prison if he is convicted of the charges filed in LA of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.
His arraignment has not yet been scheduled and prosecutors will recommend $5 million bail. Weinstein is expected to appear in court in California after his trial in New York is finished.
Here is what to expect from the trial:
WHO ARE THE ACCUSERS?
One of the women Weinstein was charged with assaulting, former production assistant Mimi Haleyi, pictured in 2017, has said that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2006
More than 80 women have publicly accused Weinstein, 67, of sexual misconduct, helping to fuel the #MeToo movement over the last two years. The criminal charges against him refer to just three accusers.
Mimi Haleyi, a former production assistant on a Weinstein Company television show, has said that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in his Manhattan home in July 2006.
Actress Annabella Sciorra, best known for her role on HBO’s The Sopranos, has said Weinstein raped her in her Manhattan apartment in 1993.
Prosecutors have accused Weinstein of raping another woman in March 2013 in Manhattan. She has not been publicly identified.
Weinstein has said that any sexual encounters he had were consensual.
WHAT ARE THE CHARGES?
Weinstein is charged with a criminal sexual act in the first degree against Haleyi, and with rape for the 2013 allegation. He is charged with predatory sexual assault over both allegations.
Sciorra’s allegation is too old to be the basis of a separate charge, but is a crucial part of the predatory sexual assault charges, which require prosecutors to establish a pattern of serious sex crimes against multiple women.
Predatory sexual assault is the most serious charge against Weinstein, carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison.
WHO WILL TESTIFY AGAINST WEINSTEIN?
Haleyi, Sciorra and the 2013 accuser are almost certain to testify in a trial that is expected to last up to eight weeks.
Prosecutors may also call three other women to testify about encounters with Weinstein, even though he is not formally charged with crimes against them. Their testimony is intended to bolster the charges by showing that Weinstein had a consistent pattern of behavior.
Prosecutors have also said that they expect to call Barbara Ziv, a professor at Temple University in Pennsylvania, to testify as an expert on the trauma resulting from sexual assault.
WHAT IS WEINSTEIN’S DEFENSE?
While criminal defendants and their lawyers typically avoid revealing their strategy before trial, Weinstein has dropped some hints.
Weinstein’s lead lawyer, Donna Rotunno, told Reuters that Weinstein had a ‘slew of witnesses ready to go.’ She has said the defense would be introducing emails and text messages to prove that Weinstein’s accusers maintained relationships with him after his alleged assaults.
His lawyers have also said they plan to call psychologist Deborah Davis, of the University of Nevada, Reno, to testify as an expert on memory, suggesting that Weinstein may try to call his accusers’ recollections into question.
Harvey Weinstein was pictured smiling as he arrived at a New York court on January 6 as his lawyers and a judge handle the final preparation for his trial on charges of rape and sexual assault
WHAT OTHER LEGAL RISKS DOES WEINSTEIN FACE?
Even if he is acquitted in Manhattan, Weinstein faces separate criminal charges announced on Monday by prosecutors in Los Angeles. Lawyer Rotunno declined immediate comment on those charges.
Weinstein was charged with sexually assaulting two unidentified women in 2013, said Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey. He was charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting the other.
Lacey said the timing of the charges was unrelated to the New York trial.
But there is some connection between the cases. One of the Los Angeles accusers is expected to testify in the New York case to help prosecutors establish what they say was Weinstein’s pattern of forcing himself on young actresses and women trying to break into Hollywood.
Weinstein is expected to appear in court in California after his New York trial, Lacey said.
The Hollywood mogul stumbled up the stairs as he arrived at a Manhattan courthouse on January 8