LOS ANGELES (AP) — Most jurors in Harvey Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial were prepared to convict him of crimes related to three of the four women he was accused of rape or sexual assault.
Yet, after weeks of deliberation, the eight men and four women unanimously voted to convict him of crimes against only one person: a Russian-born model and actress known as Jane Doe 1. She lived in Rome and was visiting California for a film festival at age 34. in 2013, when she said the disgraced movie mogul appeared uninvited at the door of her Los Angeles hotel room in the middle of the night.
The jurors were released from duty and allowed to speak publicly after more than two months on Tuesday when they failed to reach a unanimous decision on two aggravating factors that could have led to a higher sentence. Their deliberations took nine days over more than two weeks, but those who spoke to reporters said the talks were never contentious.
Weinstein was found guilty of one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault against Jane Doe 1. He now faces up to 18 years in prison in California to go with a 23-year sentence for a rape and sexual assault conviction in New York.
Jurors said Jane Doe’s composure 1 and the fact that she did not contact Weinstein after he raped her allowed the divided group to reach a consensus on her allegations.
“I thought Jane Doe 1 was very compelling in its story,” said one juror, a 62-year-old man who works in banking and gave only his name, Michael, because he tried to maintain privacy amid the publicity. surrounding the case.
The physical and technical evidence surrounding Jane Doe 1 was some of the sparsest at the trial, but jurors were told that under the law, if they found an accuser’s story credible, that alone could be enough to convict.
They acquitted Weinstein on charges of sexual battery against a massage therapist. They were deadlocked, with 10 of 12 votes at fault, over one count of sexual battery against model Lauren Young; and voting 8-4 in favor of the rape and sexual assault conviction involving Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.
The Associated Press does not name people who have said they have been sexually abused, unless they come forward publicly or have given consent through their lawyers, as Young and Siebel Newsom have done.
Jane Doe is the only one of them who has not had direct dealings with Weinstein or his representatives since the incident. She testified that he barely knew who she was, having only been introduced briefly at the film festival, and she wanted nothing from him. Others, including Siebel Newsom, had friendly email exchanges with Weinstein or sought future meetings after their incidents, a point the defense made in their cross-examination and closing arguments.
This resonated with some jurors.
Michael said he voted to convict on the counts of Jane Doe 1 but reluctantly voted to acquit on the counts involving Siebel Newsom. The difference, he said, was the “next action” of women.
“He sent Mr. Weinstein over 35 emails over a 2 1/2 year period,” he said of Siebel Newsom. “She wanted access to Harvey Weinstein. It seemed that he wanted access to many of his resources. It gave me reasonable doubt.”
Weinstein has repeatedly denied having had non-consensual sex. His attorneys called some of the meetings in the charges consensual and others completely fabricated, including the story told by Jane Doe 1. They stressed that prosecutors had not even produced independent evidence to place Weinstein in his hotel.
“Jane Doe 1 is lying. Period,” Weinstein’s attorney Alan Jackson said in his closing argument.
One juror suggested the broad statement was undermined by defense arguments grappling with details of Jane Doe’s account 1.
“I think Jackson’s last comment where Harvey just wasn’t there hurt him,” said juror Arnold Esqueda, who works as director of safety for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Energy. . “They were defending all these things, and then they just say there isn’t. Well, they should have just said there isn’t.
He said he and other jurors made that point to an “old school” man on the jury who “decided he was going to vote guilty on that one. He remained basically not guilty on the rest of it.”
Though tearful at times, Jane Doe 1’s testimony was restrained and direct compared to some that followed. She spoke slowly with a Russian accent and hardly used a translator at hand.
Esqueda said the intensely emotional testimony of Siebel Newsom, who sometimes screamed through tears during her testimony, may have been too much for some fellow jurors. The panel was split 6-6 on the counts involving her when she suggested getting a proofread of her testimony from the court stenographer.
“He had a little drama,” Esqueda said. “So I suggested we read it again, and I think after reading it she switched a couple people in favor of him, without the drama.”
Changes in the massage therapist’s story over time helped lead jurors to acquit that charge, Michael said.
Judge Lisa Lench tentatively scheduled Weinstein’s sentencing for Jan. 9 after his attorneys demanded it be done promptly.
But Lench said it may not happen as quickly given the issues surrounding the case, including the prosecutors’ pending decision on whether or not to retry the stalled counts.
“We will have to consult with the victims first,” Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson said.
He asked the judge if other Weinstein accusers, including some who testified against him at trial but were not part of the charges, and women whose counts were deadlocked, could make statements about victim impact during sentencing .
Lench promptly rejected the idea.
“I’m not going to make this an open forum about all the allegations that have been made in this trial,” he said.
“Then it will just be Jane Doe 1,” Thompson replied.
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