Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein 67 arrived at the New York State Supreme Court Monday for the start of his sexual assault trial. The trial is expected to last until March, with two weeks of jury selection followed by eight weeks of arguments and testimony before deliberations start. The judge is James Burke and if convicted, Weinstein could face up to life in prison.
The trial began more than two years ago after stories in The New York Times and The New Yorker quoted women who accused Weinstein of sexual abuse, harassment, secret settlements and generally using his influence to take advantage of young women. Since then, more than 80 women have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
Celebrities who have fallen victim of Harvey include Gwyneth Paltrow, who accused him of luring her to his hotel room when she was 22 and tried to give her a massage,Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyongo and Salma Hayek just to name a few. He also stands accused of rapping an unidentified woman at a midtown hotel in march 2003 and forcing a production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, to perform oral sex on her at his Manhattan apartment in 2006.
Weinstein faces five felony charges based on claims by just two women, one of whom remains anonymous. As he has pleaded not guilty, his defense will focus on subverting the women’s testimony and arguing their encounters as consensual. He is not expected to testify.
who are the lawyers:
For the Manhattan District Attorneys office, the lead prosecutor is Assistant Attorney Joan Illuzzi.
For Weinstein, the defence team is lead by Chicago lawyers Donna Rotunno and Damon Cheronis and New York lawyer Arthur Aidala.
Forensic scientist Dr. Barbara Ziv, who testified for the prosecution in the trial of Bill Cosby, will also be a key witness for Weinstein prosecutors. Also, two psychology experts,Elizabeth Loftus and Deborah Davis, may be called to testify on Weinstein’s behalf on the subject of human memory according to court documents.
There will be four accusers testifying, two of whom will be testifying against charged crimes.. Actress Annabella Sciorra, who first publicly accused Weinstein of raping her and repeatedly sexually harassing her in the New Yorker story will be one of those testifying. Weinstein however is not charged in connection to her accusation.
The trial will not be televised