A Los Angeles jury began deliberating criminal rape charges against Harvey Weinstein on Friday, seven weeks after the sprawling trial featuring the testimony of eight accusers – including Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom – began.
Both sides presented the bulk of their closing arguments on Thursday, with the prosecution giving its rebuttal Friday before Judge Lisa Lench gave the jury its instructions and sent them off to begin deliberations. The jury is considering five counts of sexual assaulted and two counts of rape, for which Weinstein could face a life sentence.
Defense attorneys told the jury in closings that all eight women who testified that Weinstein raped or assaulted them were either liars, or “fame and fortune seekers” who all have five words in common: “Take my word for it.” Prosecutors started their closing statements the day before, calling Weinstein a “degenerate rapist” and predator whose tactics were repeated over and over again across multiple witnesses.
Weinstein is already serving 23 years in a New York prison for criminal first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape, a conviction he has been granted the right to appeal. He has maintained his innocence since the New York Times first published accusations against him five years ago.
This story is developing …