NEW YORK – The Harvey Weinstein’s sexual crimes trial resumed on Tuesday with a new skirmish between defense attorneys and prosecutors about Weinstein’s legal team’s effort to conduct a closed jury investigation.
Prosecutors presented a letter to Judge James Burke of a lawyer representing the mainstream media arguing against Weinstein’s previous motion that he sought to “direct individualized and abducted dire”, a step that would effectively seal the selection of the jury of the public view, according to the document obtained by USA TODAY.
Weinstein’s motion must be denied, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi argued in her own letter, saying Weinstein’s lawyers did not cite the relevant precedents of the court to support her motion to close the selection of the jury to the public and the media.
The lawyer representing the media, Katherine Bolger, also argued that there is no legal basis to close the courtroom.
“On the one hand, Weinstein cannot seriously claim that publicity threatens his right to a fair trial,” his letter said. “In fact, his lawyer Donna Rotunno said in a CNN interview on June 3 that he thought the publicity about the case would be helpful to Mr. Weinstein.
“In fact, both Weinstein and his legal team have tried to present their case through the media” in interviews in the months before the trial.
Weinstein, dressed in a black suit, shook his head while speaking in court with a defense attorney, Damon Cheronis. He raised his hands as he spoke and seemed animated.
The selection of the jury continued on Tuesday, as the judge examined 110 potential new jurors on whether they could be impartial in the case. One woman said she used to work at Weinstein’s Miramax studio, but that she could be impartial; Another man said he doesn’t know Weinstein personally, but he has seen him “on the phone yelling at someone” on “several occasions” in New York, and therefore it can’t be fair.
The courtroom became a clue when the trial entered its second week: on Monday, Model Gigi Hadid was called as a potential jury member at the trial of the film’s producer, who is accused of five sex crimes in New York that involve encounters with two women.
Despite having met Weinstein and actress Salma Hayek, one of Weinstein’s high-profile accusers, Hadid told the judge that he can still keep “an open mind about the facts,” if he is selected as a jury at the trial, what is expected to last until at least mid-March.
Hadid, who has more than 51 million followers on Instagram, was harassed by photographers when he left court later. “I am not allowed to talk about the jury service,” he said. “I’m sorry”.
The 24-year-old is one of hundreds of people who have been summoned to a Manhattan court since last week as part of the selection process for possible jurors.
The jury’s pre-selection, which involves answering verbal and written questions about whether one can remain impartial, is expected to last until later this week.
On Monday, Burke said the jury selection process has been efficient and is “working well.” He added that he wishes to see the jury selection begin on Thursday. The opening statements are addressed by January 22.
Weinstein, 67, is accused of raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulting another in 2006.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denies all accusations of non-consensual sex. He has been released on bail since he was first charged in May 2018.
Harvey Weinstein trial:Gigi Hadid called as a possible juror, says he will keep the “open mind”