After nearly 30 hours of jury deliberations, Harvey Weinstein was taken into custody today after being found guilty of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree and third-degree rape. He was found not guilty of predatory sexual assault, the more serious charge. He now faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 29.
Prosecutors charged Weinstein with a total of five counts involving ex-Project Runway production assistant Mimi Haleyi, former actress Jessica Mann, and Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra. From day one, Weinstein’s Manhattan rape and sexual-assault trial has featured unexpected twists and turns, from a supermodel’s surprise appearance to his own friend admitting that the disgraced producer has a sex addiction. The bombshell developments dropped at every step of the trial: when lawyers were choosing jurors, presenting arguments, calling witnesses, and showing numerous documents. Here are the craziest things that happened over the two-month-long trial.
Gigi Hadid showed up to court.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid appeared in the courtroom at 100 Centre Streeet on January 13 as a potential juror for Weinstein’s trial. Shortly after she walked in with a pool of some 120 possible jurors, Justice James Burke asked whether the group knew anyone in the courtroom. Hadid was among several people who raised their hands. “I have met the defendant,” Hadid told the judge. She answered “yes” when Burke asked whether she could remain impartial. After names of people who might be mentioned or appear as witnesses were read — a list including Salma Hayek, Charlize Theron, and Rosie Perez — Hadid stood once more and said she had met Hayek. Hadid was dismissed as a juror several days later.
A prospective juror joked about the case on Twitter.
Despite the fact that Burke repeatedly told prospective jurors not to talk about Weinstein’s case in public, one guy took to Twitter anyway and joked about using the trial to promote his new novel. “If anyone knows how a person might hypothetically leverage serving on the jury of a high-profile case to promote their new novel, [REDACTED], which [REDACTED] called a ‘darkly funny book’ and a ‘witty black comedy,’ dm me, please,” the juror tweeted on January 7, according to court documents. Weinstein lawyer Arthur Aidala claimed in court documents that “this juror is already prepared to find Mr. Weinstein guilty, has tweeted about the case, and is considering how to profit from it.” Burke ultimately called out the juror, telling him to return to court in March and explain why he shouldn’t spend one month in jail for contempt. The prospective juror was dismissed from serving on Weinstein’s case.
Weinstein didn’t want to be associated with Bill Clinton.
Weinstein’s lawyers cried foul in court when prosecutors brought up his longtime friendship with former President Bill Clinton on January 22, the day President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial started in earnest. The defense team’s complaints about Clinton began during prosecutor Meghan Hast’s opening argument earlier in the day, when she showed a photo of Weinstein and Clinton together and argued that the disgraced producer’s powerful connections were among the ways he bullied victims. Aidala complained to Burke that showing a photo of Weinstein and Clinton together, along with using the former president’s name over and over again, wasn’t okay because of Clinton’s own impeachment — which related to his sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky. “On the day when the impeachment trial is going on, the jury is not allowed to read about this case, yet they can read about the impeachment, and the impeachment of Mr. Clinton,” Aidala complained.
An accuser claimed that Weinstein offered work in exchange for a threesome.
Former actress Dawn Dunning testified that Weinstein touched her genitals without consent during what was supposed to be a business meeting. She also alleged that he offered her work in exchange for a threesome about one month later. “She asked me to come to a hotel to meet him,” Dunning said of a Weinstein assistant. When Dunning arrived, this assistant suggested they go upstairs. “[Weinstein] opened the door, and he was wearing an open, white hotel bathrobe,” said Dunning, who was one of three women testifying about alleged prior bad acts. “So he kind of just cut to the chase and said, ‘Here’s contracts for my next three films. I’ll sign them today if you have a threesome with me and my assistant.’” Dunning said she laughed, thinking Weinstein was making a crass joke. “He said, ‘You’ll never make it in this business; this is how this industry works.” Dunning said he named-dropped Theron and Hayek in this failed threesome attempt.
An accuser claimed that Weinstein doesn’t have testicles.
Jessica Mann, who accused Weinstein of several sexual assaults, gave a graphic description of his anatomy while detailing their twisted relationship. Not long after Weinstein allegedly forced oral sex on her — an allegation he is not charged for — Mann said she had a consensual relationship with him. She said, “The first time I saw him fully naked … I thought he was deformed and intersex. He has an extreme scarring that I didn’t know, maybe [he] was a burn victim …” Mann also claimed “He does not have testicles, and it appears that he has a vagina.” Mann recalled Weinstein urinating on her once, and described a shocking discovery she made in the bathroom after the first alleged rape. “I’m just trying to collect myself for a minute, and I see a needle in the trash can, and I flip out, and I grab it, and I look at it, and I remember the name, because I wanted to Google it … I do not remember the medical term, but when I Googled it, it basically implied dead-penis-type thing.”
Jurors saw a photo of Weinstein’s naked body.
On February 4, prosecutors showed five photos of Weinstein to the five women and seven men of the jury; at least one was a nude. The possibility that jurors might see this type of photo came up earlier in the month. Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said on January 6 that “it is not the practice of the District Attorney’s Office to ever … humiliate [a] defendant.” But, she added, “we do think they [the photographs] are very, very important for the jury to see.” The photos were not entered into evidence, so the public didn’t see them, but their content was recorded by two eagle-eyed courtroom sketch artists who both caught glimpses as the jurors passed the photos from one to another. The sketches depicted one male juror’s widening his eyes as he saw the photos, so that his eyebrows went up slightly, while two women appeared to slightly grimace.
An accuser once drew Weinstein’s genitals for the cops.
Lauren Young, one of the women who testified about an alleged prior bad act committed by Weinstein, told jurors that she drew him naked for investigators. Like Mann, Young testified that Weinstein’s genitals seemed off. She said he had a “disgusting-looking penis” and that “it looked like it had been cut … not a normal-looking scar from circumcision.” She also claimed not to have seen “balls in the sack.” Weinstein attorney Damon Cheronis tried to establish through questioning that Young’s description of Weinstein’s testicles varied too much to be credible. Cheronis also asked her about the picture of Weinstein she drew for the cops. “You drew a picture of a man holding his penis in the picture?” “I drew that,” she responded. Young, a model-actress, accused Weinstein of grabbing her breast while masturbating after trapping her in a Beverly Hills hotel suite bathroom seven years ago. Weinstein is charged in Los Angeles for this alleged assault on Young, as well as for raping another woman.
Weinstein’s own friend told jurors that Weinstein is a sex addict.
Not long after Weinstein’s lawyers called their first witness, producer Paul Feldsher — whose testimony was intended to help their case — he wound up saying the fallen film producer had a “sex addiction.” Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi got the chance to cross-examine Feldsher, and she brought up cringeworthy text messages he had swapped with Weinstein. “You say, ‘There is likely a bunch of truth to the claims that you behaved like a cad and more,’” Illuzzi said, reading one text. “Your appetite and ambition for the things you want — a script, a movie, and yes, a girl — are, to put it mildly, voracious.” When asked what he meant, Feldsher said, “It was my understanding, for a very long time, that Harvey had a sex addiction and that he dated a lot of women.” Illuzzi also brought up Feldsher’s text to Weinstein that read, “If a lot of these girls had been my daughter, I would have wanted to beat the shit out of you.” Feldsher later said, “I am not a clinician … I should have not said sex addict.” But jurors, like everyone else, can’t unhear things.
Weinstein’s memory expert had trouble explaining the human brain.
The Weinstein defense’s second witness — a memory expert who worked on the O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Ted Bundy, and Menendez brothers cases — had some trouble explaining the human brain during her testimony. When questioned by defense lawyer Diana Fabi Samson, Professor Elizabeth Loftus said that “post-event information,” such as media exposure, can corrupt peoples’ memories. Illuzzi, during her cross-examination of Loftus, asked her to discuss a diagram of the brain. Burke asked Loftus whether it fell into her “area of expertise.” “I would defer to the neuroscientists who study the brain,” Loftus said. “I am not an expert in brain regions.”
Weinstein’s lawyer forgot about her cringey podcast interview.
Rotunno’s comments on a recent episode of New York Times’ The Daily podcast — which included “We have created a society of celebrity victimhood status” — drew the ire of prosecutors. Prosecutors claimed that Rotunno also talked about several of Weinstein’s accusers in the case — in violation of Burke’s past warning not to do so. (For example, in the podcast Rotunno said, “The actions of women after the fact prove they were consensual,” a reference to some accusers’ continued contact with Weinstein after alleged assaults.) Rotunno insisted “that was taped a long time ago” and that she had “no idea” it was going live that morning. However, a Times spokesperson said in an email to Vulture that “the interview was taped on January 28 and aired on Feb. 7. Donna Rotunno was made aware of the air date.” When asked for comment on the misstatement, a rep for Rotunno said she notified the court of her mix-up. “Ms. Rotunno had no intention to misrepresent the date, as lately the days bleed together. It happened on a day when the judge ended very early,” the rep said.
Rotunno and Gloria Allred had a showdown in the courtroom.
On the fourth day of jury deliberations, Rotunno confronted Allred, a famed women’s rights attorney representing three of the six accusers who testified at the trial. Allred was seated in the audience, as she had been on most trial days, when Rotunno walked over. (The judge wasn’t in the courtroom when this drama started.) Rotunno confronted Allred, apparently thinking Allred told reporters that court was ending early Friday because Rotunno had a funeral to attend. Allred was overheard responding, “You are out of control, I did not say that … Once again, you are distorting the facts.” After Burke entered the courtroom, Rotunno complained about Allred, saying, “I think it’s out of line and unprofessional …” Several hours later, Allred held a scathing presser, saying Rotunno wasn’t even “a blip on my screen until somebody told me she’s the anti-Gloria Allred.” “I never heard of Donna Rotunno before this trial, I’m sorry to say,” Allred further commented outside the courthouse during the lunch break. She also said Rotunno “needs to get a little control over herself and her temper, because controlling your temper is always a good thing. And not to be triggered.” Allred denied discussing the funeral with the media.