Jurors in Harvey Weinstein rape trial suggest they're deadlocked on most serious charges

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

In their fourth day of deliberations, jurors in Harvey Weinstein's rape trial indicated they are deadlocked on the most serious charges. The jury, made up of five women and seven men, sent a note to the judge asking if it's possible to be hung on two counts of predatory sexual assault while reaching a unanimous verdict on the other three charges.

Weinstein's lawyers said they would accept a partial verdict, but prosecutors would not. After consulting with the defense and prosecution, Judge James Burke asked jurors to keep working toward a unanimous verdict on all charges.

Harvey Weinstein leaving court on Friday, Feb. 21 as a jury continues with deliberations. (Photo: Getty Images)

"I have your note. Any verdict you return on any counts must be unanimous, so I will ask you to resume your deliberations," Burke said, according to USA Today. He sent jurors back to deliberate for 30 more minutes before court was dismissed on Friday afternoon.

A source within Weinstein's defense team told Yahoo Entertainment after court was adjourned that they've received no indication the jury reached a verdict on any counts, adding it's "a huge stretch to assume" he's been found guilty of any of the other three charges.

"They didn't say they were there yet," said the insider, adding the jury "simply asked for additional clarification" on whether they could be hung on the predatory sexual assault counts.

"To speculate the verdict now would be premature and a mistake," noted the source.

Weinstein, 67, is charged with five sex crimes — two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of rape and one count of criminal sexual assault — but can only be convicted at most of two charges, as they are all intertwined. First, the jury must look at the rape and criminal sexual assault allegations stemming from two women: Miriam Haleyi and Jessica Mann.

Haleyi, a former production assistant, claimed Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at his apartment in 2006. That's why he's charged with a first-degree criminal sexual act. Mann, a hairdresser and aspiring actress, testified that Weinstein raped her in 2013. That's why he's charged with first-degree rape and third-degree rape; however, he can only be convicted of one of those. (The two first-degree charges carry a minimum punishment of five years and a maximum of 25 years in prison. The third-degree charge is punishable by probation up to four years in prison.)

If the jury finds that Weinstein committed either crime, then predatory sexual assault is on the table, as is Annabella Sciorra's testimony. The Sopranos actress alleged that Weinstein raped and forcibly performed oral sex on her in the mid-1990s. In order to convict Weinstein of predatory sexual assault, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, jurors must agree he raped or sexually assaulted Sciorra and that he committed one of the other charged offenses.

Most of the questions coming from the jury during deliberations this week stemmed from Sciorra's testimony. The jury requested a list of people that Sciorra spoke to about the alleged rape, but couldn't get it as it wasn't received into evidence. On Wednesday, they asked to rehear the testimony of Sciorra's friend, Rosie Perez, who testified the actress confided in her about being raped after the alleged incident. Jurors also asked the court to explain why there wasn’t a stand-alone charge against Weinstein for Sciorra's allegations. (He couldn't be charged due to statute of limitations.)

On Friday, jurors listened to a reading of Sciorra’s cross-examination and follow-up questioning by prosecutors, according to the Associated Press. About 90 minutes into the reading, the jurors notified the judge they had "heard enough" and resumed their deliberations.

A verdict could come in as early as Monday morning.

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