After a two week process, seven men and five women have been selected to serve as the jury in Harvey Weinstein's upcoming rape trial in Manhattan. According to the Hollywood Reporter, "the panel will include four African Americans and eight Caucasians. The group includes a lawyer, an author, an accountant, a security guard, a banker and a New York government employee." In addition, two women and one man have been selected as alternatives.
Both the prosecution and defense had complaints about the process before the jury was finalized: according to the AP, prosecutors said the defense was trying to “systematically exclude” white women, while the defense said they didn’t want jurors who were too young to understand the way men and women interacted in the early 1990s. “That was a different time in New York and on planet Earth,” said Weinstein attorney Arthur Aidala. According to the NY Times, half of the 12-person jury is made up of white men, "a seventh is a black man. The remaining five are women." Two of the women are white.
The defense also filed a fourth motion to screen jurors in private, which was swiftly denied by Judge James Burke. “Your application is denied," he said. "Nothing you said makes logical sense to me.”
Weinstein, 67, has been charged with five counts of rape, criminal sexual act, and predatory sexual assault, from accusations by two women. Some stem from a 2013 incident, in which Weinstein allegedly kept a woman "physically against her will” and raped her. He is also accused of sexually assaulting another woman in a separate incident in 2006. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty, and claimed that any sexual activity was consensual.
A third accusation–in which Lucia Evans said Weinstein had forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004—was dropped in October 2018 after the lead detective on the case was accused of withholding contradictory evidence from prosecutors.
Amidst the heated jury selection process, Weinstein's lawyers also tried to move the trial out of NYC to no avail. In response to the latest motion to move it upstate, Assistant District Attorney Harriett Galvin wrote witheringly about why the request should be denied:
[The] defendant’s motion for this extraordinary relief should be denied because he has failed to meet his burden of showing that a fair and impartial jury cannot be selected in New York County to decide this case, or that the media 2 coverage—and what he contends are persistent public displays of animosity towards him in front of the courthouse—will in any way diminish in Suffolk and Albany counties or have any less impact on the residents there. The inhabitants of those jurisdictions have access to the same news sources and social media and, with a less diverse and populous source of jurors, are likely to be more impacted by protests or demonstrators than their counterparts in Manhattan. Defendant’s motion, lacking in any solid factual or legal basis, should be viewed as a transparent attempt to delay the proceedings and disrupt the presentation of the People’s case...
Last month, more than 30 women who've accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct and abuse reached a $25 million settlement, closing out many of the lawsuits filed against him. The former producer's bail was recently increased after prosecutors said he had tampered with an ankle bracelet monitor, though the charges haven't stopped him from enjoying New York City's nightlife—late last year he was spotted at the Lower East Side's Downtime Bar.
He has been seen going into court using a walker, and his lawyer recently told judges his spinal injuries following a car crash were "too much to bear" to deal with a $45 million civil lawsuit amid the criminal trial. In a recent interview with the Post, he complained about feeling like the "forgotten man," touting how much he has helped women's movie careers.
In an op-ed today, the NY Post argued that Weinstein and his attorneys seem hellbent on turning the trial into even more of a circus, perhaps to get a mistrial, citing Weinstein's theatrical use of a walker, his usage of his phone during the trial, and his legal team's attempts at getting the judge removed for "bias."
Barring any further developments, the trial will begin on Wednesday.