Harvey Weinstein closing arguments start

James Marshall
February 14, 2020

Weinstein, 67, faces life imprisonment if convicted of predatory sexual assault charges in the high-profile trial that marks a watershed moment in the #MeToo movement.

Haleyi said she "went numb" during the encounter and did not want to have sex with Weinstein. The panel must decide upon the five charges against Weinstein: two counts of predatory sexual assault, and one count each for a first-degree criminal sexual act and first- and third-degree rape.

Prosecutors will give their closing argument on Friday. "She's a victim of the state", Rotunno said.

But victims of sexual assault are viewed differently than those of other crimes, she said, and are often blamed with putting themselves in such situations.

"Every time you are analysing this case, it's Harvey Weinstein everything: victims, nothing".

In response to defense claims that Haleyi and the rape accuser were opportunists who had consensual sex with Weinstein because they thought it would help their careers, prosecutors are seeking to focus the jury's attention on harrowing accounts alleging rapes, forced oral sex, groping, masturbation, lewd propositions and casting-couch experiences.

But Mrs Illuzzi-Orbon recapped their stories, emphasising the horror of their experiences.

Rotunno reminded the 12 jurors that they are considering charges related to just two women: ex-actress Jessica Mann and former production assistant Mimi Haleyi. Other accusers testified as part of a prosecution effort to show he has used the same tactics to victimize many women over the years.

In all, more than 90 women have come forward with sexual assault allegations against Weinstein.

She showed them a series of emails from earlier in the trial, in which Weinstein emphasised that he was anxious in particular about Sciorra speaking out.

His lawyer, Donna Rotunno, also attacked the credibility of his accusers and the #MeToo movement as she delivered an impassioned defence of the movie producer.

Lauren Young is questioned by attorney Damon Cheronis as Harvey Weinstein watches on, in this courtroom sketch.

"You see all these women?" Annabella is in the industry. She is in his world.

The lawyer is also likely to highlight the testimony of a friend and former roommate of the same accuser who said she never heard the woman say anything bad about the defendant. "They're never gonna be strong enough, bold enough or fearless enough to tell". "But Annabella? Someone might believe her".

The fact these women didn't run to the police or the doctor after these rapes does not mean they didn't happen, it means that their abuser was a powerful man who they feared and who they felt they had to please and tried to work with as best they could in a awful industry and situation set up to protect abusers. That's the hallmark of a predator. "Isolate. Isolate. Isolate them and make them feel like they're the only ones", Illuzzi said.

She also stressed to the jurors the huge personal toll of speaking out. "You promised during jury selection that you would have the courage to make the right decision even though it wasn't the most popular". Do you think people will want that connected to whatever project?

Rotunno focused in her closing on the fact that numerous victims who testified in the case remained cordial and even had consensual relationships with Weinstein.

"Never let your emotion cloud your intellect. Use your New York City common sense". "You don't have to like Mr Weinstein - this is not a popularity contest".

Which of them will prevail when the jury returns with its verdict, probably next week, could have far-reaching consequences in Hollywood and beyond. "This is not a monster".

"I made 'The King's Speech.' It was the Queen's speech", Weinstein quipped.

Yesterday, as the prosecution ended their case, he had no comment. The final word in the trial - before the jury is sent out to begin deliberating next Tuesday - will be reserved for the prosecutors.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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