With cameras and reporters contained in a pen out front of a Manhattan courthouse and more lined up in the hallway outside of the courtroom, and even more packed in the benches inside the courtroom (along with several Weinstein survivors), the trial that sparked the Me Too movement has begun. Day one was uneventful with the judge issuing some pretrial rulings regarding jury selection. The week continued with scores of jurors admitting they could not be fair and impartial and several stating they too had been victims of sexual misconduct. One potential juror even said a friend had a bad encounter with Weinstein in a hotel room (naturally she wasn’t selected). And, on another day, Harvey Weinstein, a man who despite it all still seems to think the rules do not apply to him was admonished by the judge for using his cell phone in the courtroom.. PROOF was inside that very room and it was more than crystal clear that phones were not to be used at all.
Jury selection is set to continue for another week–it will not be an easy task but it will get done and then the trial will start in earnest. Though, his lawyers are grabbing at every little opening they see to have the case dismissed or delayed. In fact, when news came out that sexual assault charges were being filed against Weinstein in Los Angeles, they asked that the the New York case be continued because the jury pool was being prejudiced by this new information flooding media platforms.
Justice James Burke, the judge presiding over the New York case denied the request ruling that the LA charges were “next to meaningless” regarding the New York case. Bottom line continued Burke, jurors were being selected through a proper jury selection process and Weinstein, like all defendants, was presumed innocent despite news coverage.
Weinstein is facing five counts of felony sex crimes: two counts of predatory sexual assault, criminal sexual act in the third degree, first-degree rape and third-degree rape. He faces life imprisonment should the jury convict him of predatory rape.