A New York jury has started deliberations in connection with business mogul Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial.
Weinstein stands accused of raping a woman in 2013 inside a Manhattan hotel room and forcing another woman, TV and film production assistant Mimi Haleyi, to perform oral sex on him in 2016.
NBC reports that Weinstein’s defense lawyers are confident about the case. However, jurors are also taking into account the testimony of actress Annabella Sciorra, who said she was raped by Weinstein in the 1990s.
Although Sciorra’s case passed the statute of limitations to allow criminal charges in her alleged rape, a judge allowed her account of what happened to be taken into consideration.
Weinstein’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, argued last week that the prosecution didn’t have enough evidence to convict her client, claiming that the accusers live in an “alternative universe.”
“In their story, they have created a universe that strips adult women of common sense, autonomy and responsibility,” Rotunno said. “It is offensive, actually.”
On Tuesday morning, the presiding judge denied the defense’s request to dismiss a juror who previously wrote an online review about a book involving a sexual predator. When the judge declined to replace the juror with an alternate, Weinstein’s other lawyer, Damon Cheronis, argued for a mistrial, according to Deadline.
“Almost goes without saying,” the judge said after denying the mistrial request.
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[Feature Photo: Harvey Weinstein via AP/Mary Altaffer]