Harvey Weinstein Trial Jury Selection Will Remain Public, Judge Rules

The defense requested on Friday morning that the jury be sequestered to avoid media coverage

Last Updated: January 16, 2020 @ 7:19 AM

Jury selection for the Harvey Weinstein trial will remain public, Justice James Burke ruled on Friday, rejecting an eight-page motion filed by the former mogul’s defense team requesting that jury selection be sequestered to avoid media coverage of prospective jurors’ responses to sensitive questions.

“That’s against the law,” Burke said, denying the defense’s motion. The judge also said that prospective jurors were already being given the opportunity to speak with attorneys confidentially if they needed to.

“In this case, at the prescreening level, we’re already doing that,” Burke said. “We have had that confidential response.”

Weinstein attorney Arthur Aidala also expressed concern that if prospective jurors openly shared their opinions in front of other jurors — regardless if those opinions were based in fact or not — that could have the potential to influence other jurors. The judge disagreed with his line of thinking.

“Jurors blurt all matter of things out that are not great, that are not desirable for entire jury panels to hear,” Burke responded. “That is just a truism of our system of justice.”

Jury selection for Weinstein’s criminal trial entered its fourth day on Friday — one day after Burke rejected another defense motion to recuse himself from the case because of his comments about the ex-mogul’s courtroom cellphone use on Tuesday.

The former Hollywood producer, who pleaded not guilty at his first indictment in August, faces five felony counts: two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of first-degree criminal sexual assault, one count of first-degree rape and one count of third-degree.

For the record: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story incorrectly stated the day Weinstein was chastised for his cellphone use in the courtroom.

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