Harvey Weinstein‘s first week in court for his rape trial ended with fireworks.
Attorney Arthur Aidala filed a motion asking that media be barred from the courtroom, saying that potential jurors were unable to speak freely during the screening process because of media attention.
He told Judge James Burke: “Most people do not speak in front of international media. In order for citizens to be as honest and forthright as possible, we ask that jury selection be done in private.”
Burke replied: “That’s against the law! I’ll read this, but I’m generally familiar with this form of the law… I’m disagreeing with you on virtually every level.”
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi also objected. “Now they want each person to be (interviewed) in private? I don’t think there’s any precedent for doing that.”
In his motion, obtained by USA Today, Aidala writes: “we have learned that (1) some jurors have not been candid in their responses; (2) at least one juror has expressed an ulterior financial motive for serving on Mr. Weinstein's trial and that he would find him guilty; (3) a number of jurors have been victims of or had exposure to sexual assault or domestic violence; and (4) nearly all jurors have heard about this case.”
WITNESSES Meanwhile, Charlize Theron and Salma Hayek have been listed as potential witnesses. They are among the 80+ women who have shared allegations of misconduct against the disgraced mogul.
The jury selection process will continue next week. Opening statements are set for January 22nd.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face life behind bars.