The jury in the Harvey Weinstein trial deliberated on issues of consent, morality, casting and power disparities in Hollywood for ten days. According to Variety, they came to a split decision after their discussions on Monday. They convicted the discredited producer of raping Jane Doe (1) but exonerated him of sexually assaulting Jane Doe (3). On allegations involving two additional women, one of whom is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, they were at a standstill.
Three jurors have explained their decision-making process after being removed from office on Tuesday afternoon. Speaking to Variety, jurors said that while they sympathized with all of the women, it was sometimes difficult for them to determine what happened beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Everyone seemed very believable – it’s just hard to prove everything, with time and memory. It’s just their word,” said Jay, a mechanic supervisor who did not provide his last name. “Nothing was black and white. Nothing was super clear.”
According to Variety, Siebel Newsom said in court that Weinstein raped her in 2005 when she was a rising actress and director. Many jurors expressed concern that she and Weinstein had numerous email exchanges following the alleged rape. She inquired about meetings with Weinstein and asked for campaign donations in those emails from her husband, who at the time was the mayor of San Francisco. A 62-year-old banker named Michael, who was also a juror, claimed to have voted in favor of convicting Weinstein on Jane Doe (1) and (2). He, however, voted to dismiss Siebel Newsom’s accusations.
“I was reviewing the situation while reviewing his subsequent actions,” he told Variety. “She wanted access to Harvey Weinstein and it seemed like she also wanted access to a lot of his resources…It raised reasonable doubt in my mind.”
Some jurors interpreted the charges through a “casting couch” lens, focusing on the defense’s claim that the women willingly participated in “transactional” sex, according to Variety. It was like “drawing the curtain on a curtain in the entertainment industry where flexible morality was a way of doing business,” according to Michael, who said the testimony was like that.
He argued that transactional sex dates back to biblical times and that the “casting couch” has been a fixture of Hollywood for 100 years. “Now it’s, ‘If you want to sleep with me, you have to give my career the green light,'” he told Variety.
“‘If you want to sleep with me, you have to push my books and my scripts. If you want to sleep with me, you’re going to have to give me full access to you and all of your resources.’ It’s things that go on. Morally, I don’t think it’s fair… Ultimately, they make decisions that — ultimately, they’re trying to advance a career. However, according to Variety, the defense of the “casting couch” did not work in the case of Jane Doe (1).
However, Jane Doe (1) did not respond favorably to the “casting couch” defense. She said she had little contact with Weinstein after he sexually assaulted her at the Mr C Beverly Hills hotel, saying she barely knew who he was until she saw him at the LA Italia Film Festival in February 2013. The defense, according to Variety, said neither Jane Doe (1) nor Weinstein were in his hotel room that night and that Jane Doe (10) had just make up the entire sexual assault. The jury rejected this defence.
Harvey Weinstein was found guilty on Monday of three counts of rape and sexual assault. The jury found Weinstein guilty of raping Jane Doe, an Italian model, at the Mr C Hotel in February 2013.
The jury acquitted him of the charge of sexual assault against Jane Doe (3), a massage therapist. Additionally, they disagreed on the charges brought by two additional accusers, Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Lauren Young. On the sexual assault charge against Young, the jury voted 10 to 2 to convict him; on the charges of rape and forced oral copulation against Siebel Newsom, they voted 8-4. In a statement, according to Variety, Jane Doe thanked the prosecution for “believing in me and fighting so hard for all the victims, including me, during the trial.”
“Harvey Weinstein forever destroyed a part of me that night in 2013 and I will never get it back,” she said. “The criminal trial was brutal and Weinstein’s lawyers gave me hell on the witness stand, but I knew I had to go through with it, and I did…I hope that Weinstein will never see the outside of a prison cell in his lifetime,” according to Variety.
For the offenses for which he was convicted, including forcible rape, forced oral copulation and foreign object penetration, Weinstein could face up to 18 to 24 years in prison. (ANI)
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)