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Harvey Weinstein being led out of courthouse

Jurors in Weinstein Rape Trial Started Deliberating Tuesday

Gettyimages | Scott Heins
By Brooks Brown

Jurors in the Harvey Weinstein rape trial will begin deliberating Tuesday on the fate of the disgraced movie producer.

The jury, made up of seven men and five women, has summed up their cases for and against convicting him in closing arguments last week in a courthouse in Manhattan.

Weinstein, 67, is charged with forcibly performing oral sex on another woman, TV and film production assistant Mimi Haleyi, in 2006 and raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013.

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New Controversy Begins along with Deliberations

Harvey Weinstein and his defense attorney Donna Rotunno
Gettyimages | Stephanie Keith

Today's hearings, like the trial and scandal itself began with controversy.

According to published reports, prosecutors vociferously objected to a Newsweek op-ed, penned by Weinstein’s lead attorney Donna Rotunno implored the jury to “look past the headlines” and “to base their verdict solely on the facts, testimony and evidence presented to them in the courtroom.”

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi objected to the piece, saying it violated judicial behavior and was clearly written to provoke sympathy toward Weinstein. “If this is conduct that is allowed to persist in courtroom, we are all lost,” she said.

Justice James Burke reminded attorneys not to speak to the press, but took no further action against Rotunno.

Three additional women testify

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi
Gettyimages | Jeenah Moon

The three additional women have testified they were enticed into meeting Weinstein for professional reasons and then assaulted.

Costume designer Dawn Dunning, model Tarale Wulff and actress Lauren Young told the jury about separate encounters from the crimes Weinstein was accused of committing. The three were called by the prosecution's witnesses in attempts to establish Weinstein’s motive and a signature pattern of behavior. Legal experts have described this as potentially powerful evidence that might bolster the claims of Haleyi and Mann.

New York law customarily prevents prosecutors from presenting testimony of “prior bad acts,” as it is generally considered prejudicial to a defendant. Under New York state law, such witnesses are known as “Molineux” witnesses.

A Variety of Outcomes Possible

Harvey Weinstein
Gettyimages | Stephanie Keith

Weinstein could be convicted or acquitted on all charges or found guilty or not guilty of others, posing a potentially complex outcome. If convicted on all five charges, the maximum sentence is life in prison.

In a similar case featuring actor and comedian Bill Cosby, he was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault at retrial sentenced to three to ten years in state prison and fined $25,000 plus the cost of the prosecution, $43,611. Cosby appealed on June 25, 2019.

The "Weinstein effect"

Harvey Weinstein exists a limousine
Gettyimages | JOHANNES EISELE

Weinstein was dismissed from his highly successful company, Miramax (a company he created with his brother Bob in 1979) and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

By the end of 2017, more than 80 women made allegations against him, including actresses Rose McGowan and Annabella Sciorra . These actions helped spark the #MeToo social media campaign and many similar sexual abuse allegations against powerful men around the world. This phenomenon is referred to as the "Weinstein effect".

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