The disgraced movie mogul is accused of rape and criminal sexual act by two women, but also faces two other counts that could keep him in prison for the rest of his life.
Jurors heard instructions from Justice James Burke earlier Tuesday morning. Weinstein walked into the courtroom pushing his walker and wearing a light grey suit and blue tie. He appeared attentive and a little nervous moving constantly in his chair.
The group of seven men and five women need to consider if state prosecutors were able to prove, without any reasonable doubt, that Weinstein is guilty of the five counts he is charged with: two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of rape in the first degree, one count of rape in the third degree, and one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree.
If convicted on one of the two predatory sexual assault counts, the movie mogul could spend a minimum of 10 years to life in prison. That will be up to the judge to determine later on. However, to be able to convict Weinstein of that crime, the jury would need to convict him on at least one of the other crimes.
The Hollywood producer is accused of forcibly performing oral sex on a former production assistant Miriam Haley at his Manhattan apartment in 2006. Haley described in court that Weinstein backed her into a bedroom and yanked out her tampon before assaulting her. However, Haley did admit during the trial to having accepted trips from Weinstein and signing off emails to him with “lots of love” after the assault.
Weinstein is also accused of raping an aspiring actress Jessica Mann at the New York DoubleTree hotel in midtown on the morning of March 18, 2013. Mann admitted having entered into an “extremely degrading” relationship that only involved oral sex until Weinstein allegedly forced himself on her. She was cross-examined for almost two entire days. At one point, her testimony had to be interrupted as she was once sobbing uncontrollably.
Although "Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra’s allegations of rape in the winter of 1993-1994 are past the statutory limitations, she was allowed to testify to help prosecutors prove the charge of predatory sexual assault. To corroborate Sciorra’s testimony, “Do the Right Thing” actress Rosie Perez also took the stand and even got emotional as she confessed to having leaked that Sciorra had been sexually assaulted by Weinstein to a journalist.
Testimony in the case lasted about three weeks. Prosecutors called 28 witnesses, namely three other women whose accusations, like Sciorra, date too far back to be prosecuted, but can establish a pattern of behavior.
The defense called six witnesses. Some were close with a few of the women who testified and challenged some of their stories. That included Mann’s former roommate, actress Talita Maia, who testified that Mann repeatedly called Weinstein her “spiritual soulmate” and never told her about any abuse or rape. Besides Maia, Mann’s former agent Thomas Richards also testified that she showed no sign of distress in the immediate aftermath of her alleged rape.
However, one of these witnesses also backfired against the defendant. Paul Feldsher, Sciorra's former friend who testified for Weinstein's defense, recalled the actress telling him in the 1990s she had done a “crazy thing” with the movie producer but never reported it as something negative. On the other hand, Feldsher revealed that the defendant has a “sex addiction” and was confronted with his own text messages to his friend. One of them read: "I think the dog pile of actresses who are suddenly brave and recalling repressed memories are hideous."
The trial has included several dramatic moments. For example, when a couple of the women described that the defendant has deformed genitals, prosecutors showed the jurors several naked pictures of him that were not shared with the public.
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi wrapped her arguments last week by stating to the jury that, "the defendant did not have to trick women into his lair. There are professional sex workers you could get without tricking them into your lair, but maybe his kink was the fear in their eyes.”
Yet the defense insists these women engaged willingly in a relationship with the defendant.
“Being a sex addict and being a rapist are two different things,” defense attorney Donna Rotunno said in her closing arguments, urging the jury to return a “not guilty” verdict.
Weinstein has been free on bail. However, if convicted, he could be immediately remanded and possibly sent to the infamous Rikers Island jail while he awaits his sentencing hearing.
Regardless of the outcome, Weinstein will face yet another criminal case in Los Angeles. He has denied any wrongdoing and alleges that all the sexual relationships were consensual.