As disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein awaits a verdict behind bars, a Los Angeles jury convened Wednesday for a fourth day of deliberations in the second sexual assault trial against the former producer.
Jurors began deliberations Friday and had deliberated for about 11 hours without a verdict before returning Wednesday.
After hearing weeks of testimony from dozens of witnesses, the men and women on the jury are working to decide whether to convict Weinstein of two counts of forcible rape and five counts of sexual assault involving four women: a model, a dancer, a masseuse. therapist and producer.
Weinstein, who is accused of using his Hollywood influence to lure women to private gatherings and assault them, has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
Midway through the trial, four of the original 11 charges against Weinstein tied to a fifth Jane Doe were dropped without explanation.
If the jury finds him guilty, Weinstein could face 60 years to life in prison, plus an additional five years.
Weinstein’s publicist, Juda Engelmayer, told CNN that the former producer is in the medical unit of a detention center and is anxious but “hoping for the best.”
Weinstein is already serving a 23-year sentence after being found guilty of criminal sex act and third-degree rape during a 2020 trial in New York. His lawyers have appealed the sentence.
The trial in Los Angeles included testimony from the four accusers identified in court as Jane Does and dozens of witnesses, including experts, law enforcement officials, friends of the accusers and former Weinstein aides.
Additionally, four women testified that Weinstein subjected them to similar incidents in other jurisdictions.
During their testimony, all the accusers were asked to recount the details of their accusations against Weinstein, provide details of meetings with the producer years ago and explain their reactions to the alleged assaults.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker and wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, identified by her lawyers as Jane Doe 4, alleged that Weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 2005.
In her closing arguments Wednesday, Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney Marlene Martinez called Weinstein a “titan” who used his power in Hollywood to take advantage of women and silence them.
“Rapists rape. You can see the pattern,” Paul Thompson, also a prosecutor, told the jury.
“You have irrefutable and overwhelming evidence about the nature of this man and what he did to these women,” Thompson said.
Meanwhile, Weinstein’s lawyers have maintained that the allegations are fabricated or occurred consensually as part of a “transactional relationship” with the film’s producer, repeatedly saying there is no evidence of assault.
Defense attorney Alan Jackson called the accusers “fame and fortune seekers.”
Each morning during his trial in Los Angeles, Weinstein was brought from a correctional facility and wheeled into the courtroom dressed in a suit and tie and holding a composition pad.
All of his accusers began their often emotional testimony by identifying him in the courtroom as he watched.
“He’s wearing a suit, a blue tie, and he’s staring at me,” Siebel Newsom said last month, ahead of what was some of the most moving testimony the jury heard during the trial.
On Thursday, defense attorney Jackson asked jurors if they could “accept what (the Jane Does) say as gospel,” arguing that what they said was a lack of forensic evidence to support their claim.
“Five words that sum up the entirety of the prosecution’s case: ‘Take my word for it,’” Jackson said. “’Believe me she showed up at my hotel room unannounced. Take my word for it, I showed up at her hotel room. Take my word for it, I did not consent. Trust my word, I said no’”.
Siebel Newsom described an hour-long “cat and mouse period” that preceded her alleged assault. She, like other accusers, described feeling “frozen” that day.
Weinstein’s lawyers do not deny the incident occurred, but say they believe it was consensual.
Jackson called the incident “consensual transactional sex,” adding: “Repentance is not the same as rape. And it’s important that we make that distinction in this courtroom.”
Women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Jane Doe 2 in the case, told CNN that she hopes the jury will see that her client “has no reason to do anything but tell the truth.”
“She never sought or received any compensation… She no longer lives in California. But she is testifying because she has been asked to testify and I hope they see her as the young woman that she was when she met Harvey Weinstein, and the woman that she is today approximately nine or 10 years after her. Her life has changed,” Allred said.
“Be willing to submit to what could be a very brutal cross-examination. For that you need a very special person. And she is a special person. I am very proud,” Allred said.
In her closing arguments, Martinez also noted that the women who testified chose to do so despite knowing they would face difficult conditions in court.
“The truth is, as you sit here, we know the despicable behavior of the defendant. 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 was what everyone did. Everyone turned their heads.”