Harvey Weinstein will not testify at his rape trial

Former film producer’s lawyers rest their case in the sexual assault trial in New York

 Harvey Weinstein arrives at court in New York City. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Harvey Weinstein arrives at court in New York City. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

 

Former film producer Harvey Weinstein will not testify in his own defence at his rape trial, his lawyers said on Tuesday as they rested their case.

Outside the presence of the jury, one of Mr Weinstein’s lawyers told Judge James Burke that Mr Weinstein would not be taking the stand in the trial, which began in New York on January 6th and is seen as a milestone in the #MeToo movement.

“That’s correct,” Mr Weinstein confirmed when asked by the judge about his lawyer’s statement.

The defence rested its case shortly after this exchange, setting the stage for closing arguments to begin on Thursday.

Earlier on Tuesday, a former agent of accuser Jessica Mann took the stand, testifying that Ms Mann showed no signs of distress on the morning she says she was sexually assaulted by Mr Weinstein.

Mr Weinstein (67) has pleaded not guilty to raping Ms Mann, a onetime aspiring actor, and to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi.

Ms Mann has accused Mr Weinstein of raping her in a Manhattan hotel one morning in March 2013. She previously testified that the rape occurred in the course of an “extremely degrading” relationship with Mr Weinstein that lasted for years.

Thomas Richards, a former friend and agent of Ms Mann, testified that he had breakfast with Ms Mann and Mr Weinstein on the day in question. Mr Richards told jurors that the dynamic between Ms Mann and Mr Weinstein appeared “friendly”.

Mr Richards testified under a subpoena from the defence. Asked by Mr Weinstein’s lawyer Damon Cheronis whether he was testifying to help Mr Weinstein, Mr Richards answered: “Not at all.”

Under cross-examination by assistant district attorney Joan Illuzzi, Mr Richards said he had been drinking the night before the breakfast and his memory of the next day was not clear.

On Monday, Ms Mann’s former friend Talita Maia, a Brazilian-born actor, testified that Ms Mann did not show any distress after the alleged attack.

Key moment

The trial is a key moment in the #MeToo movement in which women have accused powerful men in business, entertainment, media and politics of sexual misconduct.

Since 2017, more than 80 women have accused Mr Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

The former producer, who was behind films including The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love, has denied any nonconsensual sex.

Mr Weinstein faces life in prison if convicted of predatory sexual assault, the most serious charge against him.

Prosecutors rested their case last Thursday after jurors heard testimony from six women accusing Mr Weinstein of sexual assault, including Mann, Haleyi and actor Annabella Sciorra, who said Mr Weinstein raped her in her home in the early 1990s. – Reuters