Jurors in Harvey Weinstein’s Manhattan rape and sexual-assault trial appeared to be deadlocked on two of the five counts Friday afternoon. These two counts, predatory sexual assault, are the most serious.
Justice James Burke instructed jurors to keep trying to come to a unanimous decision on these two counts, so deliberations will continue.
The message came on the fourth day of deliberations, during which jurors asked for testimony to be read aloud to them and to see evidence presented during the trial.
After the note came in, Burke and lawyers on both sides discussed how they would answer the jury.
“The defense is willing to accept a partial verdict,” Weinstein’s lead attorney, Donna Rotunno, said before the jury came in.
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said, “We’re not willing to accept that at this juncture, Judge.”
When jurors entered the courtroom, Burke said, “As I told you in my initial instructions, any verdict you return on any count — whether guilty or not guilty — must be unanimous. If you cannot reach a unanimous agreement on a particular count, you cannot return a verdict on that count.”
“It is not, however, uncommon for a jury to have difficulty initially.”
“It is not uncommon for a jury to believe that they will never be able to reach a unanimous verdict,” Burke explained, saying shortly thereafter, “I will ask you to continue your deliberations.”
Weinstein faces five counts in New York City. One count, criminal sexual act in the first degree, stems from former Project Runway production assistant Mimi Haleyi’s allegation that Weinstein had forcibly performed oral sex on her at his Soho apartment in 2006. Weinstein faces one count of rape in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree for ex-actress Jessica Mann’s claim that he had raped her at a Midtown East hotel in 2013.
The two counts of predatory sexual assault, which the note suggests jurors are undecided on, are more complicated. One involves Haleyi’s allegation; the other, Mann’s. Annabella Sciorra’s claim that Weinstein had raped her around late 1993 is contained in both of these counts.
The jury has appeared particularly interested in assessing Sciorra’s testimony. On February 20, jurors asked to have portions read back to them. One day prior, they asked to hear Do the Right Thing actress Rosie Perez’s testimony, which corroborated Sciorra’s.
Jurors also requested copies of emails presented during Weinstein’s trial that featured women’s names in red text. The emails displayed Sciorra’s name in red and revealed that she was on a “red flag” list. People on this list were particularly important to Weinstein. In the months before the allegations against Weinstein broke, prosecutors alleged, he thought these “red flags” might disclose damaging information.
Deliberations ended at 3 p.m. this afternoon, as Rotunno has to attend an out-of-town funeral. The jury will return on Monday morning to continue weighing Weinstein’s case.
When Weinstein left court, reporters asked what he thought about today’s turn of events. As is often the case, Weinstein shrugged.
Update, February 24: Harvey Weinstein’s verdict has been announced.
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