The jury in the Harvey Weinstein trial might be deadlocked on two of the weightiest counts against the former producer: predatory sexual assaults involving actress Annabella Sciorra. Each count carries a possible life sentence.
The jury’s questions suggested a unanimous verdict had been reached on assault and rape charges involving Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann, respectively, but did not indicate in which direction.
Deliberations ended for the weekend without a verdict on Friday.
As he exited the courtroom, Weinstein was asked by the daily phalanx of journalists whether he thought the unanimous verdicts indicated “guilty.” The former producer shrugged in a “Who knows?” manner.
About an hour earlier, Supreme Court Judge James Burke called the jury to the courtroom to answer the questions it submitted during the lunch break. The judge repeated his earlier instructions that all verdicts must be unanimous, and without unanimity, there is no verdict.
The judge then told jurors that it is “common to have difficulty reaching a verdict” and to “believe you can never reach a verdict,” but he added that most juries eventually do come to a consensus. He sent the jurors back for further deliberations.
After today’s lunch break — but before the jury reconvened — Judge Burke read a note to attorneys from the jurors asking if, legally, the jury could be “hung” on the two predatory sexual assault counts but unanimous on three other counts solely involving accusers Haley and Mann.
The judge consulted with attorneys from both sides on the wording of his answer, with one defense attorney asking that the jury be told a deadlock would necessitate a new trial and new jury. The judge did not accept the suggestion.
Weinstein is charged with five criminal counts, including two of predatory sexual assault – one involving accuser Haley and actress Sciorra, the other count involving Sciorra and Mann. Although the statute of limitations has expired on Sciorra’s claim of rape in 1993-94, her testimony is permitted in conjunction with that of Haley and Mann to establish predatory behavior.
In addition to the predatory counts, which carry sentences up to life in prison, Weinstein is charged with one count of criminal sexual assault (against Haley) and two counts of rape (one in the first degree, one in the third, both involving Mann). Those crimes carry possible prison sentences of five to 25 years.
The jury’s note to the judge during lunch suggests they are in agreement — one way or the other — on the charges involving only Haley and Mann. That leaves Sciorra, who has been considered the linchpin throughout the trial, and indicates at least one juror is holding out for at least one of the predatory assault counts involving her.
Earlier today, the jury again seemed focused significantly on the former Sopranos actress’ involvement in the case, including her allegation against Weinstein and her interactions with him after the alleged rape.
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