Weinstein jurors deadlocked on most serious charge, court hears

Former film producer could spend rest of life in jail if convicted of predatory sexual assault

Harvey Weinstein arrives at the state supreme court in New York on Friday.  Photograph: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Harvey Weinstein arrives at the state supreme court in New York on Friday. Photograph: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

 

Jurors deliberating in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial have indicated they are deadlocked on the most serious charges but the judge has told them to keep trying.

In a note sent to the judge during their lunch break, jurors asked if it were permissible for them to be hung on two counts of predatory sexual assault while reaching a unanimous verdict on other charges.

After consulting with prosecutors and Mr Weinstein’s lawyers, Judge James Burke told the jury of seven men and five women to keep working towards a unanimous verdict on all charges.

Mr Weinstein’s lawyers said they would accept a partial verdict but prosecutors said “no” and Mr Burke refused to allow it.

He sent jurors back to deliberate for a few more minutes before letting them go home for the weekend. They will resume on Monday morning.

The jury, in its fourth day of deliberations, has been particularly focused on the key aspect of two counts of predatory sexual assault – Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra’s allegations that Mr Weinstein raped her in the mid-1990s.

Those charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.

In all, Mr Weinstein (67) is charged with five counts stemming from the allegations of Sciorra and two other women – an aspiring actress who says he raped her in March 2013 and a former film and TV production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, who says he sexually assaulted her in March 2006.

To convict Mr Weinstein of a predatory sexual assault charge, jurors must agree on two things – that Mr Weinstein raped or sexually assaulted Ms Sciorra and that he committed one of the other charged offences.

The predatory sexual assault charge requires prosecutors to show that a defendant committed a prior rape or other sex crime, but does not have the statue of limitation constraints that would bar Ms Sciorra’s allegations from consideration on their own.

Mr Weinstein has maintained any sexual encounters were consensual. – AP