After a brief few days, Harvey Weinstein’s defense has rested its case in the former Hollywood mogul’s Los Angeles rape and sexual assault case.
Weinstein’s attorneys, Alan Jackson and Mark Werksman, called a total of six witnesses, presenting their case over the course of two days this week. The prosecution’s case was much lengthier, spanning nearly a month with 44 witnesses taking the stand.
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Closing arguments will begin later on Wednesday afternoon and are expected to wrap up this week, then sending the case into the jury’s hands. Deliberations will likely start by the end of this week and carry into next week before a verdict is reached. (Down the hall from Weinstein’s case is another high-profile trial: Danny Masterson faces three charges of forcible rape, and the jury was instructed to re-start their deliberations this week with two new alternates, extending the trial much longer than originally expected.)
Weinstein faces seven charges and a maximum sentence of 60 years. He is facing two counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault in Los Angeles. Eight women testified with sexual assault accusations against Weinstein through the trial, but the case rests largely on four women whose allegations are tied to charges; the other four women testified as “prior bad acts” witnesses.
He is currently serving a 23-year sentence after already being convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York in 2020, though he is currently appealing that conviction.
This week, the defense’s witnesses focused on Jane Doe No. 1, Jane Doe No. 2, Lauren Young and one of the “prior bad acts” witness, Ashley Matthau. Four witnesses were called related to Jane Doe No. 1’s accusations, with the defense aiming to poke holes in her testimony that she was raped and forced to perform oral sex on Weinstein in February 2013 during a business trip in L.A. where she was attending the Los Angeles Italia Film Festival. Many of the defense witnesses testified about a fire alarm that went off in the hotel where the alleged rape occurred — but during her testimony, Jane Doe No. 1 said that she never heard a fire alarm, which became a key sticking point in cross-examination when Weinstein’s attorneys questioned whether she was actually at the hotel. The witnesses were a firefighter, the hotel’s security guard, the hotel’s former general manager and a Beverly Hills police detective.
Weinstein’s defense also called a choreographer from Weinstein’s 2004 film “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” as a witness, who said that she never worked with Matthau on the movie and doesn’t remember her being on set, even though Matthau had said she was cast as a dancer and was assaulted by Weinstein during production for that film in Puerto Rico. The choreographer’s testimony was later debunked by Matthau who was called back on the stand by the prosecution as a rebuttal witness.
A special agent who testified both for the prosecution and defense was the final witness called by Weinstein’s attorneys, providing Jane Doe No. 2’s phone records from the day she alleged she was assaulted by Weinstein at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Weinstein will not take the stand in the trial. “He’s not going to testify,” Werksman told the judge on Wednesday. “Yes, your honor,” Weinstein said to the judge, confirming that he understands his right, but has decided not to provide testimony.
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