A jury of nine men and three women was seated Thursday to rule on Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial in Los Angeles, where more than 80 potential witnesses – including four accusers – were set to testify over the coming weeks.
The male 3/4 of the panel skewed mostly in the 40-to-70-year-old range, with one young white man who appeared in his young 20s, according to pool reports compiled by The Associated Press. Two of the three women are older and white, and the third is a younger-looking Black woman.
Friday was set aside for pretrial motions. The jury was expected to begin hearing testimony first thing Monday.
Eight alternate jurors were seated, and as the day came to a close, the judge and attorneys agreed that eight would be enough. Shortly after that, one of the seated jurors said they would not be able to participate, and planned to bring a doctor’s note; with that, the alternate pool was whittled down to seven, where it would stand for trial.
Judge Lisa B. Lench spent some time negotiating Thursday over what, if anything, could be brought up at trial regarding settlements and NDAs that Weinstein allegedly procured to silence accusers. They agreed to bring those issues up at trial on an ad hoc basis, since neither side intended to lean heavily on those types of documents as evidence.
Some of the rejected jurors expressed skepticism about sexual assault accusations. One, a young man, had written “the #MeToo movement is pointless and fraudulent” on his jury questionnaire, and was asked about it.
“I don’t really believe in that movement,” he said. “I myself wouldn’t believe every woman who said someone did something to them.”
More to come …