Booking.com

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday asked a New York state appeals court to delay his rape trial and move it out of Manhattan, the day before the final phase of jury selection is scheduled to begin. 

Weinstein’s lawyers cited ‘flash mob’ protests in the streets whose chants can be heard 15 stories up in the courtroom and a crush of reporters and photographers that have turned the case into a ‘media and entertainment circus.’

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 prospective jurors’ social media comments showed Weinstein won’t get a fair shake in his hometown.

Some potential jurors have even been posting on social media about their involvement in the case, violating court rules that could land them behind bars, the judge said Wednesday.

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday asked a New York state appeals court to delay his rape trial and move it out of Manhattan, the day before the final phase of jury selection is scheduled to begin

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday asked a New York state appeals court to delay his rape trial and move it out of Manhattan, the day before the final phase of jury selection is scheduled to begin

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday asked a New York state appeals court to delay his rape trial and move it out of Manhattan, the day before the final phase of jury selection is scheduled to begin

Weinstein's lawyers cited 'flash mob' protests in the streets whose chants can be heard 15 stories up in the courtroom and a crush of reporters and photographers that have turned the case into a 'circus'

Weinstein's lawyers cited 'flash mob' protests in the streets whose chants can be heard 15 stories up in the courtroom and a crush of reporters and photographers that have turned the case into a 'circus'

Weinstein’s lawyers cited ‘flash mob’ protests in the streets whose chants can be heard 15 stories up in the courtroom and a crush of reporters and photographers that have turned the case into a ‘circus’

In the last few days, he’s turned last week’s postings by people in the running for the jury into a cautionary tale during his introductory remarks as he’s welcomed new 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 hadn’t just said not to, what was it, a hundred times? A thousand times? Was anything I said ambiguous?’ Judge James Burke said, warning the latest batch of prospective jurors not to do the same.

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 Jan. 22. He told prospective jurors that he expected the trial to finish up in early March.

Hadid, 24, isn’t expected to make the cut. 

Weinstein asked the appellate court to move the trial once before, on the grounds that media attention would prevent him from getting a fair trial in Manhattan, but that request was denied in October.

On January 8, the day after jury selection began, Weinstein filed a motion for Justice James Burke to remove himself from the case, accusing him of bias, but the judge denied that motion.

A spokesman for the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment on Weinstein’s latest motion.

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

Film producer Harvey Weinstein departs New York Criminal Court as jury selection continues in his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City on Wednesday

Film producer Harvey Weinstein departs New York Criminal Court as jury selection continues in his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City on Wednesday

Film producer Harvey Weinstein departs New York Criminal Court as jury selection continues in his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City on Wednesday

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.

Many potential jurors were dismissed in pre-screening after saying they could not be fair and impartial in the case.

On Wednesday, Weinstein used a Manhattan court’s stairs Wednesday as he arrived on his walker, as his team say the mogul avoids the disabled access ramp ‘to exercise his back and for a quicker route in’. 

The 67-year-old has been pictured hobbling into the courthouse every day since proceedings got underway last Monday. He had surgery on his back in December after being injured in a car crash in August 2019. 

A disabled access ramp is just yards away but is positioned in front of a media pen. His spokesman told DailyMail.com he also uses the stairs to avoid walking past the press.  

Weinstein appeared to be more at ease with the stairs on Wednesday, using one hand, not two, to steady his feet. He has already complained about press attention and being scrutinized for using his walker, which has two tennis balls stuck on the bottom.  

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women, and faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault. His trial began January 6 and could last up to two months.

A New York courts spokesman told DailyMail.com: ‘The ADA compliant handicapped ramp in front of the Criminal Court Building at 100 Centre Street was recently renovated and fully accessible. Whether or not an individual chooses to use it is their choice. Mr. Weinstein is free to avail himself of its use.’ 

It comes as Weinstein and his lawyers met with prosecutors behind closed doors for about an hour on Wednesday morning as they worked to whittle down the pool of prospective jurors based on their responses on a screening questionnaire.  

Harvey Weinstein uses Manhattan court's stairs Wednesday as he arrived for day seven of jury selection in his trial

Harvey Weinstein uses Manhattan court's stairs Wednesday as he arrived for day seven of jury selection in his trial

Harvey Weinstein uses Manhattan court’s stairs Wednesday as he arrived for day seven of jury selection in his trial

Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court for his sexual assault trial in Manhattan Wednesday

Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court for his sexual assault trial in Manhattan Wednesday

Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court for his sexual assault trial in Manhattan Wednesday

Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court for his sexual assault trial in Manhattan Wednesday

Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court for his sexual assault trial in Manhattan Wednesday

Weinstein is pictured leaving court on Wednesday. Weinstein and his lawyers met with prosecutors behind closed doors for about an hour on Wednesday morning as they worked to whittle down the pool of prospective jurors

Weinstein is pictured leaving court on Wednesday. Weinstein and his lawyers met with prosecutors behind closed doors for about an hour on Wednesday morning as they worked to whittle down the pool of prospective jurors

Weinstein is pictured leaving court on Wednesday. Weinstein and his lawyers met with prosecutors behind closed doors for about an hour on Wednesday morning as they worked to whittle down the pool of prospective jurors

The stairs to the courthouse can be seen just yards to the right of the disabled access ramp which Weinstein avoids each day

The stairs to the courthouse can be seen just yards to the right of the disabled access ramp which Weinstein avoids each day

The stairs to the courthouse can be seen just yards to the right of the disabled access ramp which Weinstein avoids each day

Weinstein's spokesman told DailyMail.com he also uses the stairs to avoid walking past the press, pictured

Weinstein's spokesman told DailyMail.com he also uses the stairs to avoid walking past the press, pictured

Weinstein’s spokesman told DailyMail.com he also uses the stairs to avoid walking past the press, pictured

A spokesman for Weinstein told DailyMail.com: ‘He is able to [use the disabled access ramp] but he choose not to. 

‘It is a longer walk and it goes right past the media, he has to pass by the media to get there. This way he gets to the building faster. 

‘It is also good for him to exercise his back in the wake of his surgery. He needs to strengthen it to the point where he does not have to use the walker. It’s a mindset, walking up the stairs pushes and challenges him.’

The spokesman could not confirm a date when Weinstein is expected to not use his walker. 

Jurors have been 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.

The defense and prosecution started going over the questionnaires on Tuesday and by the time court resumed Wednesday had already ‘come a long way’ on agreeing which prospective jurors should return for further questioning, Judge James Burke said.

Neither Burke nor the lawyers disclosed how many potential jurors remained in contention. A second round of questioning meant to finalize the jury panel is due to start on Thursday. 

A sixth day of jury selection ended Tuesday after another batch of prospective jurors told a judge that they had already made up their minds about the movie mogul.

More than 30 people of 110 screened in a Manhattan courtroom said they couldn’t be fair if asked to sit on a trial expected to last at least six weeks and feature testimony from six women who say there were victimized by Weinstein. It wasn’t disclosed how many of those claiming bias were dismissed.

On Monday, supermodel Gigi Hadid caused a stir by emerging as a potential juror, telling the judge she had met Weinstein but could be impartial. 

The scene was more mundane Tuesday, when one man said he didn’t know the defendant but couldn’t be fair because he had seen him several times in lower Manhattan ‘on the phone screaming at someone.’ 

Weinstein has been pictured hobbling into the court every day since proceedings got underway. He is pictured on January 8

Weinstein has been pictured hobbling into the court every day since proceedings got underway. He is pictured on January 8

Weinstein has been pictured hobbling into the court every day since proceedings got underway. He is pictured on January 8

Weinstein departs New York Criminal Court amid his ongoing rape and sexual assault trial on January 9

Weinstein departs New York Criminal Court amid his ongoing rape and sexual assault trial on January 9

Weinstein departs New York Criminal Court amid his ongoing rape and sexual assault trial on January 9

Weinstein departs New York Criminal Court amid his ongoing rape and sexual assault trial on January 13

Weinstein departs New York Criminal Court amid his ongoing rape and sexual assault trial on January 13

Weinstein departs New York Criminal Court amid his ongoing rape and sexual assault trial on January 13

Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court amid his ongoing rape and sexual assault trial on January 14

Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court amid his ongoing rape and sexual assault trial on January 14

Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court amid his ongoing rape and sexual assault trial on January 14

Hundreds of people have been summoned for the initial screening process. Dozens have qualified for a second round of questioning set for Thursday, but some, such as Hadid, could still be eliminated in advance of that based on how they have answered written questionnaires.

Hadid revealed in court that aside from Weinstein, she had met actress Salma Hayek, a potential witness. 

But the Victoria’s Secret model, who lives in Manhattan and studied criminal psychology at the New School, said she could ‘keep an open mind on the facts.’  

Judge James Burke has warned potential jurors not to take to social media about the case, explaining that those who already have done so ‘may be held in contempt of court and face serious consequences up to and including 30 days in jail and a significant fine’. He added: ‘So, don’t do that.’  

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

Potential jurors raise their hands and explain why they can't serve on the jury of film producer Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial

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. 

 

Potential jurors have each been given questionnaires featuring 72 questions and will report back for further questioning on January 16. The questionnaire asks 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. 

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. 

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.

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

Both sides hope to deliver opening statements before the end of the month. The trial is expected to last into March. If convicted, Weinstein could face life in prison.  

Los Angeles prosecutors recently announced new charges in a separate case against Weinstein.

Those charges accuse Weinstein of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another woman on back-to-back nights in 2013. He has not entered a plea in that case, which will be tried later. 

Harvey Weinstein arrives for jury selection in his trial on rape and sexual assault charges on Wednesday

Harvey Weinstein arrives for jury selection in his trial on rape and sexual assault charges on Wednesday

Harvey Weinstein arrives for jury selection in his trial on rape and sexual assault charges on Wednesday 

Weinstein had surgery on his back in December after being injured in a car crash in August 2019

Weinstein had surgery on his back in December after being injured in a car crash in August 2019

Weinstein had surgery on his back in December after being injured in a car crash in August 2019

The defense and prosecution started going over the questionnaires Tuesday and had already “come a long way” on agreeing which prospective jurors should return for further questioning by the time court resumed Wednesday, Judge Burke said

The defense and prosecution started going over the questionnaires Tuesday and had already “come a long way” on agreeing which prospective jurors should return for further questioning by the time court resumed Wednesday, Judge Burke said

The defense and prosecution started going over the questionnaires Tuesday and had already ‘come a long way’ on agreeing which prospective jurors should return for further questioning by the time court resumed Wednesday, Judge Burke said

About 50 of the 120 prospective jurors summoned to court Wednesday were dismissed for various reasons after an initial phase of group questioning, most of them because they indicated they could not be fair and impartial

About 50 of the 120 prospective jurors summoned to court Wednesday were dismissed for various reasons after an initial phase of group questioning, most of them because they indicated they could not be fair and impartial

About 50 of the 120 prospective jurors summoned to court Wednesday were dismissed for various reasons after an initial phase of group questioning, most of them because they indicated they could not be fair and impartial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hollywood mogul stumbled up the stairs as he arrived at a Manhattan courthouse on January 8

The Hollywood mogul stumbled up the stairs as he arrived at a Manhattan courthouse on January 8

DailyMail Online


Leave a Reply