Prosecutors on Tuesday showed jurors in Harvey Weinstein’s rape and sexual-assault trial five photos of him, and at least one of showed the disgraced movie producer in full-frontal nudity, courtroom sketches indicate.
Although the photos were shown to the jurors, they were not shown to the public. Two sketch artists seated on the right side of the courtroom were able to see and draw several of these images as jurors passed them from one to another.
The possibility that photos of this nature would make their way into the trial was discussed on January 6. At the time, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said, “There are other issues regarding specific exhibits in this case,” and “the defense is particularly sensitive about some exhibits.”
“It is not the practice of the District Attorney’s Office to ever … humiliate [a] defendant,” Illuzzi said. “There were 72 photographs taken, and we’re going to be asking for the admission of seven of them.” She explained that prosecutors were taking steps to minimize “any undue prejudice” toward Weinstein. “We believe the photographs … we do think they’re very, very important for the jury to see,” she said.
Illuzzi was able to bring the photographs up during today’s testimony by calling a District Attorney’s Office photographer to the witness stand.
“On June 18, 2018, did you take photographs of Harvey Weinstein?,” Illuzzi asked.
“Yes,” responded Yakov Mantelman, the photographer.
“Do you see Harvey Weinstein in court today?”
“Have you had an opportunity to review those photographs?”
“Do they fairly and accurately represent how the defendant looked on June 18 of 2018?”
Mantelman again answered yes.
Illuzzi then asked that the pictures be admitted into evidence and shown to the jury.
Weinstein’s defense team objected to the jury’s seeing them.
Justice James Burke allowed only the jury to see them, instructing the jurors to take a look at each photo and pass it down their row. The photos will not be part of the public record. Judges frequently limit the viewing of sensitive evidence (for example, crime-scene photos of murder victims) to jurors.
One male juror’s eyes widened, lifting his eyebrows slightly. Two women appeared to wince.
After jurors examined the photos, Justice Burke asked Weinstein defense attorney Damon Cheronis, “Any cross-examination, Mr. Cheronis?”
“Zero,” Cheronis said.
Outside of court, a reporter asked Weinstein whether these were naked photos of him.
“No, it was Playboy,” he said.
Mann had testified on Friday that Weinstein’s genitals appeared to be misshapen.
“The first time I saw him fully naked,” she said that day, “I thought he was deformed and intersex. He has an extreme scarring that I didn’t know; maybe [he] was a burn victim.”
“He does not have testicles, and it appears that he has a vagina,” she claimed.
The photos were presented today after Jessica Mann, who accused Weinstein of raping her in 2013, finished testifying on cross-examination.
For approximately ten hours over a three-day period, Weinstein lawyer Donna Rotunno tried to undermine Mann’s allegations of nonconsensual sex by pointing to numerous examples of friendly correspondence between her and Weinstein.
Today, Rotunno brought up one 2017 missive, in which Mann wrote, “I love you, always do, but I hate feeling like a booty call.”
Rotunno also asked Mann today about the last time she’d had a sexual encounter with Weinstein.
“The last sexual-type situation I remember with him was when his mom died,” Mann said. “He wanted to talk to me because I understood grief.” Mann had previously testified that her father had died.
“When I get there, he’s naked on the bed, and all he wanted to do was something sexual,” Mann recalled. “I think he masturbated in the mirror, and he put himself in my mouth.”
“It disgusted me and brought back a lot of bad memories,” she added.
(According to the New York Times, Weinstein’s mother died in November 2016.)
At one point, Mann pushed back on the questioning about her communications with Weinstein after Rotunno asked why she wanted his help in getting a Soho House membership.
“You want the ladies and gentlemen of this jury to believe the person you wanted to sponsor you to the exclusive club was your rapist?,” Rotunno asked.
“I do want the jury to know he is my rapist, and I hope I can continue to explain the dynamic of why I engaged with him. I mean, he raped me. It is irrelevant,” she said.
“Actually, it is relevant,” Rotunno shot back.
“He raped me; that is a fact,” Mann said.
Weinstein faces charges in New York City for allegedly raping Mann around seven years ago, as well as for a purported sexual assault on former Project Runway production assistant Mimi Haleyi. To make the case that he is a serial sex predator, the District Attorney’s Office is using Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra’s testimony that Weinstein had raped her around early 1993.
Update, February 24: Harvey Weinstein’s verdict has been announced.