The jury deliberating in Harvey Weinstein’s sex crimes trial asked the judge whether they could reach a partial verdict, suggesting they were still divided on the most serious charges against the Hollywood mogul.
The jury on Friday afternoon asked whether they could reach a unanimous decision on three of the five charges against Mr Weinstein, including first-degree rape and sexual assault, without reaching a unanimous verdict on the two charges of predatory sexual assault.
In New York, predatory sexual assault carries a sentence of up to life in prison, while first-degree rape could send Mr Weinstein to jail for up to 25 years.
Judge James Burke told the jury of seven men and five women to continue working. Friday was their fourth day of deliberation in the high-profile trial, after watching weeks of testimony from women alleging that Mr Weinstein preyed upon them.
The charges against Mr Weinstein were based on two alleged incidents: raping Jessica Mann, an aspiring actress, in 2013 and forcing oral sex on Miriam Haley, a production assistant, in 2006. Mr Weinstein denies the charges.
New York state prosecutors also brought in four other women to testify during the trial against Mr Weinstein, including The Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, to establish an alleged pattern of behaviour. Ms Sciorra has accused Mr Weinstein of raping her in 1993, although the alleged incident was too long ago to qualify for this trial.
Ms Sciorra’s accusation is crucial to convict Mr Weinstein of the most serious charge — predatory sexual assault — which requires prosecutors to prove that the former producer committed a serious felony against at least two people.
The trial in New York is widely viewed as a culmination of assault claims against Mr Weinstein that helped sparked the Me Too movement in 2017. Activists and lawyers have said the trial is critical in establishing a precedent for future sexual abuse cases.
The jury was dismissed after 3pm on Friday and will return to continue deliberations on Monday morning.
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