Harvey Weinstein Photo: David Shankbone
The jury in the Harvey Weinstein case today approached the sittng judge, James Burke, asking for permission to reach a partial verdict after becoming deadlocked on two counts of predatory sexual assault, it has emerged. The judge ordered them to return to deliberate further and try to reach a unanimous verdict after Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi, prosecuting, said that this would not be acceptable to her team. Defence attorney Damon Cheronis, acting for Weinstein, said that in any event he would need to discuss the matter with his client.
The Hollywood producer has been charged with five counts of rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct involving two complainants. Crucially, the charge of predatory sexual assault cannot be applied in this case unless the jury agrees that Weinstein is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of assaulting both women or accepts that he also assaulted actress Annabella Sciorra, who cannot bring charges of rape directly because the statute of limitations has expired on her case. Sciorra testified before the court last month and part of her testimony was read back to the jury today.
If convicted of predatory sexual assault, Weinstein could face life in prison. Sciorra was aggressively questioned by the defence team, however, and asked why she didn't fight back if her accusation is true. The prosecutors argued that at the time she weighed about a third of what Weinstein weighed so would not have had a realistic chance of defending herself effectively.
Weinstein maintains his not guilty plea on all counts.