Jurors in Harvey Weinstein trial ask judge if they can be hung on top charges

Jurors in Harvey Weinstein trial ask judge if they can be hung on top charges

Jurors in the rape trial of Harvey Weinstein asked the judge Friday whether they can be hung on the two counts of predatory sexual assault – raps that could put him behind bars for life — and reach a unanimous decision on all other charges.

“We the jury request to understand whether we can be hung on [counts] 1 and/or 3 and unanimous on all the other charges,” read the 2:16 p.m. note to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke.

Burke told the jurors, “Let me answer that question the following way as I told you in the initial instructions.

“Any verdict you return [on any count], whether guilty or not guilty, must be unanimous. If you cannot reach a unanimous agreement on a particular count, you cannot return a verdict on that count, and a new trial will have to be scheduled before a different jury.

“It is not, however, uncommon for a jury to have difficulty initially in reaching a unanimous verdict, and it is not uncommon for a jury to believe that they will never be able to reach a unanimous verdict,” Burke said. “But, after further deliberations, most juries are able to reach a unanimous verdict. And, so, I will ask you to continue your deliberations.”

He sent them home for the weekend about 45 minutes later, at 3 p.m.

The disgraced movie mogul faces up to life in prison on each of two counts of predatory sexual assault. He faces up to 25 years on one count of a criminal sexual act, up to 25 years on a count of first-degree rape and up to four years for third-degree rape.

Counts one and three are the predatory sexual assault charges against Weinstein.

Count one relates to the alleged rape of “The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra and the alleged forcible oral-sex encounter involving former “Project Runway” production assistant Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi, while count three relates to the alleged rape of Sciorra and the alleged rape of one-time aspiring actress Jessica Mann.

Following the deliverance of the note, Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon requested that Burke ask the jury to “keep working” on counts one and three.

The lead prosecutor in the case then briefly huddled with prosecutor Meghan Hast and a tense-looking Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in the courtroom.

Burke asked the prosecution whether it would accept a partial verdict in the case, prompting Illuzzi-Orbon to respond: “We are not willing to accept that at this juncture.”

The note came after seven-man, five-woman panel spent the morning re-listening to cross-examination testimony from Sciorra, who claimed that Weinstein raped her in the winter of 1993-1994 at her Manhattan apartment.

The jury cut the read-back of the testimony short, telling Burke in a note, “We, the jury, request to cease the reading of Annabella Sciorra. At this juncture, the jury has heard enough.”

Source : Rebecca Rosenberg, Natalie Musumeci Link

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