The second sexual assault trial of Harvey Weinstein, the former movie producer accused of using his Hollywood influence to lure women into private meetings and assault them, entered its sixth day Friday in the hands of a Los Angeles jury.
Weinstein, behind bars in a medical unit, awaits a verdict on two counts of forcible rape and five counts of sexual assault involving four women – a model, a dancer, a massage therapist and a producer. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
Jurors began deliberating Friday after hearing weeks of testimony from dozens of witnesses. As of Thursday evening, jurors have been in deliberation for about 20 hours.
At trial, four of the original 11 charges against Weinstein tied to one of the Jane Does were dropped without explanation.
Weinstein could face 60 years to life in prison, plus an additional five years, if the jury finds him guilty.
Weinstein is already serving a 23-year sentence after being convicted of a criminal sex act and third-degree rape during a 2020 trial in New York. His attorneys have appealed the conviction.
Weinstein’s publicist, Juda Engelmayer, told CNN the former producer is in a detention facility’s medical unit, and is anxious but “hoping for the best.”
The trial in Los Angeles included testimony from the four accusers identified as Jane Does in court, and other witnesses, including experts, law enforcement, friends of accusers and former aides to Weinstein.
Additionally, four women testified they were subjected to similar incidents by Weinstein in other jurisdictions.
All the accusers were asked in court to recount the details of their allegations against Weinstein, provide details of meetings with the producer from years ago and explain their reactions to the alleged assaults.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker and the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom – identified by her attorneys as Jane Doe 4 – alleged Weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 2005.
In closing arguments Wednesday, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez called Weinstein a “titan” who used his power in Hollywood to prey on and silence women.
“Rapists rape. You can look at the pattern,” fellow prosecutor Paul Thompson told jurors.
“You have irrefutable, overwhelming evidence about the nature of this man and what he did to these women,” Thompson said.
Meanwhile, Weinstein’s attorneys have maintained the allegations are either fabricated or occurred consensually as part of a “transactional relationship” with the movie producer, repeatedly saying there is no evidence of assault.
Defense attorney Alan Jackson called the accusers “fame and fortune seekers.”
Each morning at trial, Weinstein was brought from a correctional facility and wheeled into the Los Angeles courtroom wearing a suit and tie and holding a composition notebook.
His accusers all began their oftentimes emotional testimonies by identifying him in the courtroom as he looked on.
“He’s wearing a suit, and a blue tie and he’s staring at me,” Siebel Newsom said last month, before what was one of the most emotional moments of the trial.
On Thursday of last week, defense attorney Jackson asked jurors if they could “accept what (the Jane Does) say as gospel,” arguing what they said was a lack of forensic evidence supporting their claim.
“Five words that sum up the entirety of the prosecution’s case: ‘Take my word for it,’” Jackson said. “‘Take my word for it that he showed up at my hotel room unannounced. Take my word for it that I showed up at his hotel room. Take my word for it that I didn’t consent. Take my word for it, that I said no.’”
Siebel Newsom described an hourslong “cat-and-mouse period,” which preceded her alleged assault. She, like other accusers, described feeling “frozen” that day.
Attorneys for Weinstein do not deny the incident occurred, but said he believed it was consensual.
Jackson called the incident “consensual, transactional sex,” adding: “Regret is not the same thing as rape. And it’s important we make that distinction in this courtroom.”
Women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing Jane Doe 2 in the case, told CNN she hopes the jury sees her client “has no motive at all to do anything but tell the truth.”
“She never sought or received any compensation … She doesn’t live in California anymore. But she is testifying because she’s been asked to testify and I hope that they see her as the young woman that she was when she met Harvey Weinstein, and the woman that she is today approximately nine to 10 years later. Her life has changed,” Allred said.
“To be willing to subject yourself to what could be a very brutal cross-examination. That takes a very special person to do that. And she is a special person. I’m very proud,” Allred said.
In her closing arguments, Martinez also highlighted that the women who testified chose to do so despite knowing they would face tough conditions in court.
“The truth is that, as you sit here, we know the despicable behavior the defendant engaged in. He thought he was so powerful that people would … excuse his behavior,” Martinez said. “That’s just Harvey being Harvey. That’s just Hollywood. And for so long that’s what everyone did. Everyone just turned their heads.”