LOS ANGELES (AP) — Most jurors at Harvey Weinstein’s trial in Los Angeles were willing to convict him of crimes related to three of the four women he was accused of rape or assault against.
But after weeks of deliberation, the eight men and four women voted unanimously to convict him of crimes against only one: a Russian-born model and actor known as Jane Doe 1. She lived in Rome and at the age of 34 was visiting California for a film festival. in 2013, when she said the now-disgraced movie mogul showed up uninvited at the door of her Los Angeles hotel room in the middle of the night.
The jurors were released from service and allowed to speak publicly for more than two months on Tuesday when they failed to reach a unanimous decision on two aggravating factors that might have led to a higher sentence. Their deliberations lasted nine days and lasted more than two weeks, but those who spoke to reporters said the talks were never contentious.
Weinstein was found guilty of one count of rape and two counts of assault against Jane Doe 1. He now faces up to 18 years in California, followed by a 23-year sentence for a rape and assault conviction in New York.
Jurors said Jane Doe 1’s calmness and failure to contact Weinstein after he raped her allowed the divided group to come to an agreement on her charges.
“I thought Jane Doe 1 was very convincing in her story,” said one juror, a 62-year-old man who works in banking who gave only his first name, Michael, as he tried to maintain his privacy amid the publicity surrounding the case. .
The physical and technical evidence surrounding Jane Doe 1 was some of the thinnest at trial, but jurors were told that under the law, if they found an accuser’s story credible, that alone might be enough to convict.
They acquitted Weinstein on charges of sexual battery against a massage therapist. They were stuck, with 10 of 12 votes for guilt, based on sexual battery against model Lauren Young; and by a vote of 8 to 4 for conviction of rape and sexual assault involving Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.
The Associated Press does not name people who have said they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly or have consented through their lawyers, as Young and Siebel Newsom have done.
Jane Doe was the only one among them who had no direct contact with Weinstein or his representatives after the incident. She testified that she had hardly known who he was because she had only been introduced briefly at the film festival and wanted nothing from him. Others, including Siebel Newsom, had friendly email exchanges with Weinstein or sought future meetings after their incidents, a point the defense insisted on during their cross-examinations and closing arguments.
This was well received by some jurors.
Michael said he voted to convict on the Jane Doe 1 counts, but reluctantly voted to acquit on the counts involving Siebel Newsom. The difference, he said, was the women’s “follow-up action.”
“In a 2 ½ year period, she had sent Mr. Weinstein more than 35 emails,” he said of Siebel Newsom. “She wanted access to Harvey Weinstein. It sounded like she wanted access to many of his resources. It caused a reasonable doubt in my mind.”
Weinstein has repeatedly denied engaging in non-consensual sex. His lawyers called some of the encounters in the indictment consensual and others outright fabricated, including the story told by Jane Doe 1. They pointed out that prosecutors had not even provided independent evidence to put Weinstein in her hotel.
“Jane Doe 1 is lying. Period,” said Weinstein attorney Alan Jackson in his closing argument.
A juror suggested that the broad statement was undermined by defense arguments pertaining to the details of Jane Doe 1’s account.
“I think Jackson’s last comment where Harvey just wasn’t there hurt him,” said juror Arnold Esqueda, who works as the director of security for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. “They defended all these things, and then they just say he’s not here. Well, they should have just said he’s not here.
He said he and other jurors had made that point to a “very old school” guy on the jury who “decided he was going to vote guilty on that one.” He remained virtually innocent of the rest.
Although tearful at times, Jane Doe’s testimony was understated and clear compared to some that followed. She spoke slowly with a Russian accent and hardly used an interpreter.
Esqueda said the intensely emotional testimony of Siebel Newsom, who sometimes cried through tears during her testimony, may have been too much for some fellow jurors. The panel was tied 6-6 on the counts involving her when he suggested that her testimony be read back by the court reporter.
“She had a little drama,” Esqueda said. “So I suggested she read it again, and I think after we read it, it turned a few people in her favor, without the drama.”
Changes over time in the massage therapist’s story helped jurors acquit on that point, Michael said.
Judge Lisa Lench has tentatively scheduled Weinstein’s sentencing for January 9 after his lawyers asked for it to be done as soon as possible.
But Lench said it may not happen any time soon given the issues surrounding the case, including prosecutors’ pending decision on whether or not to retry the deadlocked counts.
“We will have to consult with the victims first and foremost,” Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson said.
He asked the judge if other Weinstein accusers, including some who testified against him at the trial but were not part of the indictment, and the women whose count was held, would be able to make victim impact statements at sentencing.
Lench promptly rejected the idea.
“I’m not going to make it an open forum about all the allegations that have been brought up during this trial,” she said.
“So it’ll just be Jane Doe 1,” Thompson replied.
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