The prosecution has rested its case in the People vs. Harvey Weinstein.
The Los Angeles trial is expected to last a total of two months, heading into December. On Thursday, the jury was told they would reconvene after Thanksgiving when the defense begins with its case on Nov. 28.
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Weinstein — who was already convicted in New York and is in the midst of serving his 23-year sentence — is facing seven charges in the sprawling Los Angeles case: two charges of rape and five counts of sexual assault. On these counts, he faces 60 years, if convicted.
Originally, Weinstein was facing 11 charges and a maximum sentencing of 140 years. Jane Doe #5, who was associated with these charges, is no longer part of the case, so Weinstein won a motion for four charges to be dismissed. Prosecutors said earlier this week that they would not proceed with testimony from Jane Doe #5, but offered no explanation.
Jane Doe #1, Jane Doe #2, Jane Doe #3 and Jane Doe #4 all testified over the past month, as well as four additional uncharged witnesses, who the prosecution brought on the stand to help establish a pattern of Weinstein’s behavior. (The charges Weinstein faces stem only from the Jane Doe witnesses in the case, whose identities are being kept private by the court.)
The prosecution is being lead by deputy D.A.’s Paul Thompson and Marlene Martinez, who began presenting their case on Oct. 24 after opening statements and jury selection, which was underway on Oct. 10. Over the past month, prosecutors have presented a slew of witnesses who have accused Weinstein of rape and sexual assault, along with supporting witnesses to corroborate parts of their stories.
The most prominent witness in the case is actor and filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newson, the First Partner of California who is married to Gov. Gavin Newsom. During her emotional testimony this week, she sobbed on the stand while detailing her allegations of being raped by Weinstein in 2005.
Another one of the charged witnesses is Lauren Young, an aspiring actor and screenwriter who is represented by attorney Gloria Allred. She has accused Weinstein of cornering her in a hotel bathroom, groping her and masturbating in front of her during a business meeting. Young also testified in Weinstein’s New York trial; she is the only woman to have testified in both trials. Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who was at the center of a NYPD sting operation against Weinstein in 2015, also testified earlier this month as an uncharged witness.
Throughout the past month, the prosecution has presented women who have relayed similar patterns of Weinstein’s alleged behavior: an abuse of power, using business meetings to sexually assault women, showing up at hotel rooms unexpectedly in the middle of the night, masturbating in front of women and ejaculating on the floor. The prosecution had also told the jury that each woman would describe Weinstein’s body. During testimony, the witnesses have gone into great detail recalling his deformed genitalia. Prosecutors have made clear to the jury that none of the women know each other.
During opening statements, the prosecutors argued that Weinstein had a pattern of sexually abusing aspiring actors, models and writers in the entertainment business. On the other side, Weinstein’s defense has argued that the women willingly engaged in “transactional sex” and are now out to get Weinstein in the post-#MeToo era.
On Thursday, the defense indicated that their case should only take one to two days, meaning the jury could start deliberating at the very start of December. Weinstein’s attorneys have not indicated yet who they will be calling to testify.
Weinstein has entered a not guilty plea on all seven charges. After the prosecution rested their case Thursday, Weinstein’s defense requested to dismiss all charges, based on the case presented.
“We believe there is not enough evidence for a jury to find Mr. Weinstein guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” one of Weinstein’s attorneys said. Judge Lisa B. Lench denied the motion, stating in court, “I think there is enough evidence to send all these counts to the jury, and I will do so.”
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