LOS ANGELES (AP) — Harvey Weinstein’s attorney told jurors Thursday in his Los Angeles rape and sexual assault trial that the prosecution’s case rested on wanting to believe women whose testimony was found to be unreliable.
What you need to know
- In closing arguments Thursday, defense attorney Alan Jackson advised jurors to look past the emotional testimony of the four women accused of assaulting Weinstein and look at the facts.
- Weinstein, the 70-year-old former movie mogul, has been accused of assaulting and sexually assaulting two women, as well as sexual harassment against two women.
- Weinstein maintains his innocence, and his lawyers deny that he engaged in non-consensual sex.
- The defense will finish its closing arguments later in the afternoon, and the jury will begin deliberating after the prosecutor’s rebuttal.
“‘Take my word for it,’ the five words that sum up the prosecution’s case,” Jackson concluded, telling jurors.
The 70-year-old former movie mogul is accused of raping and sexually assaulting two women and sexually harassing two women.
Jackson argued that two of the women lied about their encounters, while the other two engaged in “transactional sex” to advance their “100 percent consensual” careers. But after #MeToo exploded around Weinstein, with stories in the New York Times and The New Yorker in which Jackson called his client a “pile of dogs,” women began to resent it.
“Regret is not rape,” Jackson told jurors several times.
Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence for raping and sexually assaulting two women in New York.
Los Angeles prosecutors wrapped up their closing arguments early Thursday and urged jurors to convict Weinstein in California after giving most of them on Wednesday.
“It’s time for the defendant’s reign of terror to end,” said Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez. “It’s time to bring the king to justice.”
In closing, Weinstein’s attorney urged jurors to look past the emotion of the four women’s testimony and focus on the factual evidence.
“‘Trust us because we’re mad, trust us because we’re crying,'” Jackson told jurors. “Yes, anger does not create reality. Tears do not create truth.”
He was particularly adamant about the tearful and dramatic testimony by documentary filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2005 in a Beverly Hills hotel room.
“It was a theatrical, over-dramatic performance,” he said. “All you saw was action.”
Sibel Newsom was one of the women who engaged in “transactional sex,” Jackson said. “He knows it, and he hates it.”
He said the testimony was disingenuous, similar to Sybel Newsom’s testimony that she had occasional encounters with Weinstein after the attack, including at a 2007 film festival. Jackson Siebel pointed to an email requesting a meeting with Newsom Weinstein.
Jackson told jurors that Weinstein was never in the hotel room with the other woman accused of assaulting him. Italian model Jane Doe 1 went to court. The woman testified that he assaulted her after showing up uninvited to her hotel room. 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival.
“Jane Doe 1 is lying. “Time,” Jackson said, pointing to the lack of evidence that put Weinstein at the scene. “Not a single witness can prove that Harvey Weinstein never walked through that door.”
She showed photos of Jane Doe 1 smiling as she interacted with director Quentin Tarantino, Weinstein sitting a few feet away.
“This is inconsistent with the fact that he was assaulted only a few hours ago,” the lawyer said.
The night the photos were taken, Weinstein grabbed model Lauren Young in a hotel bathroom, groped her and groped her in front of her eyes during a meeting about a script he was writing.
Jackson said the encounter was real, but most of the rest was made up, focusing on the improbable detail he says a woman was locked in a bathroom from the outside, as well as a room with a sliding door, and photographic evidence. did not.
“None of it makes sense because he’s making it up,” Jackson said.
The Associated Press generally doesn’t name people who say they were sexually assaulted unless they appear publicly, like the people named in this story, or agree to be identified through their attorneys. All the women accused of sexual assault by Weinstein are going to be sued by Jane Doe.
The prosecution will present its final rebuttal Friday morning, after which the jury will begin deliberations.