Weinstein jury look to be nearing verdict in sex assault trial

by Reuters
Friday, 21 February 2020 20:47 GMT

Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court as the jury continues to deliberate in his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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Conviction on the predatory assault charges, which carry a potential life sentence, would indicate that Weinstein is a repeat sexual offender

(Updates with legal expert, deliberations to resume Monday)

By Brendan Pierson

Feb 21 (Reuters) - The jury in Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial will resume deliberations on Monday after suggesting they may be nearing a guilty verdict on at least one of the five counts against the former movie producer.

The seven men and five women of the jury asked Justice James Burke on Friday afternoon whether they could be hung on two counts of predatory sexual assault and unanimous on the other three, which include first-degree rape.

Conviction on the predatory assault charges, which carry a potential life sentence, would indicate that Weinstein is a repeat sexual offender. Two of the other charges carry prison terms of up to 25 years, while the third is up to 4 years.

Gerald Lefcourt, a criminal defense attorney who is not involved in the case, said that from their question to the judge it seemed the jury "appeared willing to convict" Weinstein on the less serious counts.

Burke told the jurors it is not uncommon for juries to have difficulty reaching a unanimous verdict, but that most are eventually able to do so.

"Please resume your deliberations," he said.

The jury later broke for the weekend and is expected to continue deliberating on Monday.

Asked outside court what he thought the jury's verdict would be, Weinstein, 67, shrugged and said he remained confident.

He has been charged with raping Jessica Mann, a onetime aspiring actress, and sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi.

Anna Sciorra, best known for her role in HBO's "The Sopranos," testified that Weinstein came to her New York apartment one winter night in 1993 or 1994, raped her and then forced oral sex on her.

That accusation is too old to be charged as a separate crime, but serves as an aggravating factor for the most serious charge in the case, predatory sexual assault.

Jurors can convict Weinstein of predatory sexual assault if they find that he committed the assault against Sciorra and at least one of the alleged crimes against Haleyi or Mann.

The jury began its deliberations on Tuesday. (Reporting by Brendan Pierson; Writing by Noeleen Walder; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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