Monday, July 6, 2020

the depositions end without the testimony of the ex-producer accused of rape

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Ex-producer Harvey Weinstein arrives in Manhattan court on Monday, February 10. JOHANNES EISELE / AFP

Suddenly, Tuesday February 11 in the morning, Harvey Weinstein's lawyers were frightened. They requested a suspension of the session, then isolated themselves in a small adjacent room with their client. "I want to tell my story, I have something to say", says the former producer, who has been on trial since early January in the Manhattan court in New York for rape and sexual assault.

Bear witness ! It's the worst thing you can do, says the defense. In the American procedure, this opens the door to cross-examination by the prosecution. Not to mention that the accused may name protagonists who may eventually be called to the stand. Far too risky, while trial is not going badly, prosecution unable to prove guilt of fallen mogul "Beyond a reasonable doubt", want to believe his lawyers.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also The criminal trial of Harvey Weinstein, prosecuted for rape, opens in New York

Return to the courtroom after half an hour at 11:20 am Harvey Weinstein will not testify.

"Is that right Mr. Weinstein?asks Justice James Burke presiding over the trial.

– Yes that's right ", he replies.

Deliberations "promise to be complicated"

This choice puts an end to the depositions. Defense lawyer Donna Rotunno will make final closing remarks on Thursday, while the next day, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi will try to convince the twelve jurors – seven men, five women – of the accused's guilt. Their deliberations will start on Tuesday 18 February and, as the Agence France-Presse (AFP) cautiously writes, they "Promise to be complicated". Vocable scrupulous which reflects the perplexity felt at the end of this trial. Mr. Weinstein faces perpetuity.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also "I was too afraid to face her": at the Weinstein trial, the torture of a young actress locked in a "degrading" relationship

We have heard poignant, raw, appalling testimony from the two main complainants, Mimi Haleyi and Jessica Mann, who accuse the former Hollywood king of forced cunnilingus and rape. However, we also observed loopholes and listened to testimony for the defense. "In these two cases, the key notion of consent turns out to be more vague than in most sexual assault trials, according to legal experts interviewed by AFP. The two women admitted to the jury that they had had at least one consensual sex with him after the alleged assault. "

If we bring our colleagues back, it is sort of to prepare the ground. Everything seems possible at the end of this trial – a conviction, a jury unable to agree unanimously, which could lead to a second trial, or, in extreme cases, an acquittal. It is not the American justice system that is at issue, but the complexity of the cases produced by the prosecution. While more than 90 women have charged Mr. Weinstein with sexual assault, this is not their trial, not least because of the factual prescription or the complexity of providing evidence. The audience focused on the journey of two women. Two young actresses who dreamed of Hollywood and fell into the clutches of the producer.

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