Weinstein must tread carefully in rape trial defense, experts say

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former Hollywood manufacturer Harvey Weinstein will face the problem of shielding himself in his rape trial as he tries to undermine his accusers’ credibility with out showing callous to jurors, in keeping with a number of felony professionals.

FILE PHOTO: Movie manufacturer Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Prison Court docket together with his lawyer Donna Rotunno for his sexual attack trial within the Long island borough of New York Town, New York, U.S., January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Nonetheless, if Weinstein’s protection group can convince the jury that the accusers engaged in consensual sexual process to achieve an edge within the leisure business, that might lead to an acquittal or hung jury, different professionals mentioned. All 12 jurors should agree to ensure that prosecutors to safe a conviction.

Weinstein, 67, has pleaded now not responsible to fees of assaulting two girls in New York, and faces existence in jail if convicted at the maximum critical price, predatory sexual attack.

Weinstein has mentioned that any sexual encounters he has had had been consensual.

Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lead attorney, informed Reuters closing month that his protection group had “a slew of witnesses able to head,” and that they would supply emails appearing that his accusers had maintained pleasant relationships with him after the alleged attacks.

Rotunno didn’t reply to requests for remark at the protection technique.

Bennett Gershman, a former Long island prosecutor, mentioned that consent would most probably be the center of Weinstein’s protection.

“I believe he’s going to take a look at to turn that those girls have been looking to ingratiate themselves with this robust Hollywood tycoon, that they weren’t sufferers, that they have been prepared members in more than a few sexual encounters,” mentioned Gershman, a former prosecutor who’s now a legislation professor at Tempo College.

As many as 4 further girls are anticipated to testify for the prosecutors, who’re looking to identify a constant development of misconduct, in keeping with courtroom papers.

Eric Tennen, a prison protection attorney in Boston who has treated sexual attack instances, mentioned it may well be tough for Weinstein to persuade a jury that a number of girls had reason to lie about him.

“That’s a troublesome tablet to swallow,” he mentioned.

Professionals mentioned the problem is intensified by way of the #MeToo motion, during which a large number of girls have long gone public with misconduct allegations in opposition to robust males, expanding possible jurors’ consciousness of sexual abuse and making them much more likely to imagine accusers.

Since 2017, greater than 80 girls have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct courting again a long time, serving to to gasoline the motion.

Probably the most two primary accusers within the case, former manufacturing assistant Mimi Haleyi, has mentioned publicly that Weinstein pressured oral intercourse on her in his Long island house in 2006. The opposite, who has now not been recognized, used to be raped by way of Weinstein in 2013, prosecutors allege.

Daniel Hochheiser, a New York-based prison protection attorney who has treated intercourse crime instances, mentioned the protection may name witnesses who noticed the connection between Weinstein and his accusers to strengthen a protection of consent.

“If there are witnesses who can testify that the conduct of the complainant after the alleged sexual attack used to be inconsistent with any individual who were assaulted, which may be very robust,” he mentioned.

Weinstein’s legal professionals will most probably attempt to display inconsistencies in his accusers’ previous statements via cross-examination, which professionals mentioned may well be persuasive proof for the protection. They’re going to, then again, must be cautious to not seem too competitive.

“If the protection legal professionals are perceived as being too competitive and difficult, it’s going to make the witnesses extra sympathetic,” mentioned Daniel Medwed, a professor of prison legislation at Northeastern College Faculty of Legislation.

Weinstein may just additionally argue the encounters have been consensual however with the passage of time the accusers’ views and reminiscences of the development modified, mentioned Tennen.

Weinstein’s legal professionals have mentioned in courtroom papers that they intend to name Deborah Davis, a psychologist and professor on the College of Nevada at Reno, to testify about how reminiscences will also be distorted. Davis mentioned she used to be “nonetheless on faucet” to testify and declined to remark at the case.

Gershman mentioned such testimony has been a hit in instances involving alleged sexual abuse of youngsters, who’ve been proven to be liable to false reminiscences.

Weinstein additionally has a proper to testify in his personal protection, however this is most often regarded as dangerous.

    Through attesting, Medwed mentioned, Weinstein would open himself to a “broad-based personality assault” about his honesty that might backfire.

Reporting by way of Brendan Pierson; Further reporting by way of Gabriella Borter; Modifying by way of Noeleen Walder and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Believe Rules.

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