Five additional witnesses will be allowed to testify to “prior bad acts” in Harvey Weinstein’s upcoming Los Angeles trial, where he is facing 11 counts of rape and sexual assault to which he has pleaded not guilty, as ruled by a LA judge Lisa B. Wench, per Variety. However, actresses Rose McGowan and Daryl Hannah will be excluded from providing testimony.
Initially, prosecutors wanted to call 15 witnesses to testify to such “bad acts” — which are defined as taking place before the trial and are sometimes allowed to establish motive or opportunity, but which must not be prejudicial — but the court barred 10 of them.
In Hannah’s case, Weinstein’s defense lawyer Mark Werksman argued that the prosecution’s aim to introduce her testimony — which she recounted to the New Yorker in 2017 — was “with the inflammatory purpose of trying to suggest that this man is so despicable, he would attempt to rape America’s sweetheart — the mermaid from ‘Splash.’”
In the New Yorker piece, Hannah told journalist Ronan Farrow that the disgraced producer pounded on her hotel room door twice, forcing her to escape out the back.
As for McGowan, her testimony — of being sexually assaulted by Weinstein at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival — was not allowed as it took place prior to 2000. McGowan was one of the first women to publicly come forward about Weinstein’s abuse.
Lead prosecutor Paul Thompson argued that it was not the District Attorney’s fault that so many women have accused Weinstein of assault. “There is one person in this courtroom who is responsible for that,” he said. “That is Mr. Weinstein’s responsibility. Mr. Weinstein is the one who committed all of these offenses against so many women over so many years.”
In summer 2021, the mogul — who has already been convicted of rape in New York and was sentenced to 23 years in state prison — was extradited to California where he will face up to 140 years based on sexual misconduct charges involving five women between 2004 and 2013.
Weinstein is currently appealing his New York conviction on the grounds that additional “bad acts” testimony prejudiced the jury, and an appeals court will hold a hearing on the matter in December. Meanwhile, a hearing for the LA trial is due June 10, with the trial due in September.