A Los Angeles judge has ruled that five additional witnesses will be allowed to testify against former Hollywood filmmaker and convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein in their upcoming R*Pay trial, but will allow the testimony of actresses Rose McGowan and Daryl Hannah. has been laid out.
Prosecutors wanted to call 15 witnesses to testify about the producer’s “past bad deeds,” but the judge excluded 10 of them, Variety reports. The judge will also allow jurors to report on Weinstein’s New York conviction that involved sexual assault of Miriam Haley, although Haley will not be called to testify in LA.
Harvey Weinstein is facing 11 counts of r*pe and s*xual assault related to five alleged victims.
The prosecution wants to call additional witnesses to show that Harvey Weinstein s*x had a tendency to commit crimes.
Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorney, Mark Worksman, argued Wednesday that the witnesses would confuse the jury and only serve to tarnish his reputation. Worksman argued, “the jury would be tempted to punish for everything they heard, whether they were charged or not.”
Leading prosecutor Paul Thompson argued that it was not the DA’s fault that so many women were lining up to testify against Weinstein, reports Variety. “There is a person in this courtroom who is responsible for this,” he said. “It’s Mr. Weinstein’s responsibility. Mr. Weinstein is the one who has committed all these crimes against so many women over the years.”
The DA’s proposal and the opposition’s opposition are stamped. Witnesses in court were identified by first names only, although some were easily identifiable.
Worksman said prosecutors were seeking to call “Daryl.” “The intent of the prosecution is to present her testimony with provocative purpose, trying to suggest that this man is so despicable, he will attempt to r*pe America’s sweetheart – the mermaid from ‘Splash’, Worksman said.
Hannah tells her story to Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker, alleging that Harvey Weinstein twice attacked her hotel room door and was once forced to flee from behind.
Worksman argued that Weinstein was not even charged with a crime in that incident, making it irrelevant to the case. “He is window-dressing so the jury will hate Mr Weinstein a little more than they already hate him,” he said.
Worksman also mentioned “Rose” as saying prosecutors wanted her to testify that Weinstein had forced oral sex with her in a hotel hot tub. Thompson said the incident happened in 1997.
McGowan was famous among the first public accusers of Harvey Weinstein, alleging that Weinstein assaulted her at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. The judge ruled that no testimony relating to the conduct prior to 2000 would be permitted, thus excluding McGowan’s testimony.
The issue of witnesses to “prior bad acts” has been one of the most important factors in Weinstein’s first trial, two trials in New York and Bill Cosby’s in Pennsylvania. In the first Weinstein trial, three women were allowed to testify without alleged sexual assaults.
Harvey Weinstein is now appealing his sentence – which sent him to 23 years in prison – partly on the grounds that the additional testimony biased the jury. An appeals court heard the case in December, and some judges sympathized with the defense’s argument.
Worksman made reference to the New York appeal in his argument, warning that any conviction in L.A. ripe for appeal to many “witnesses of former bad acts.” “It’s a kamikaze run by the people,” he said. “Perhaps they (DA’s) will blame the appellate unit when the appeals court overturns the conviction.”
Thompson countered that the legislature allowed such witnesses for a good reason, and courts have repeatedly upheld their use in California trials. “It is constitutional,” he said. “It’s permissible.”
The judge sought to reduce the list, allowing prosecutors to call only the women identified in court as Natasia, Miss I and Kelly S. Those witnesses from the list of seven.
Worksman was clearly dismayed by the decision, arguing that prosecutors had sought a higher number as a “faint” to make the judge’s final decision appear like a fair settlement. “It’s going to be a circus,” he said. “I would request the court to reconsider.”
The judge said the parties are expecting the hearing to begin in September. The next hearing was scheduled for June 10.