Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial took a dramatic turn on Tuesday as the judge threatened to revoke his bail and jail the former film producer after catching him using his cellphone just as jury selection got underway.
“Is this really the way you want to end up in jail for the rest of your life, by texting and violating a court order?” state Judge James Burke asked the 67-year-old defendant, visibly angry.
“I’m not looking for apologies; I’m looking for compliance,” Burke said.
The once-powerful producer has been released on bail, but is required to wear an electronic-tracking device that was visible on his ankle when he arrived at court on Tuesday.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women in New York. He faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault.
Jury selection began with Burke speaking to 120 potential jurors in the courtroom about the importance of jury service and telling them the identity of the defendant.
“Having heard of him, or even having heard the allegations made against him in the press, does not disqualify you,” he told them.
Burke read to jurors a list of dozens of names that might come up at the trial, including actresses Salma Hayek and Charlize Theron, who have accused Weinstein of misconduct.
He also mentioned actress Alyssa Milano. Days after reports of Weinstein’s alleged misconduct was first reported in October 2017, Milano wrote on Twitter “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
That message propelled the #MeToo movement, which prompted women to lodge misconduct allegations against powerful men in politics and business.
Burke did not say if the people he mentioned would be called as witnesses.
Prosecutors have said they may call three women to testify about encounters with Weinstein, even though he is not formally charged with crimes against them. Their testimony is intended to bolster the charges by showing that Weinstein had a consistent pattern of behavior.
Michelle Gelernt, a public defender who briefly represented Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, raised her had when asked if anyone knew the legal teams. She said she knew the judge and lead prosecutor but it would not prevent her from being impartial.
Forty potential jurors were excused after saying they could not be impartial, and a small number said their health prevented them from serving.
Those who said they believed serving on the jury would be a hardship were called one by one to speak with the judge and lawyers privately.
The remaining jurors were told to take a written questionnaire and return on January 16 for further selection if they believed they were able to serve.
On Monday, hours after Weinstein’s trial in New York started, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey charged Weinstein with the sexual assault of two unidentified women in 2013.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر