Jury note could be ‘bad news’ for Harvey Weinstein or sign of confusion, experts say

Jury note could be ‘bad news’ for Harvey Weinstein or sign of confusion, experts say

The note suggesting a potential jury deadlock on the top charges against Harvey Weinstein could be “bad news” for the disgraced movie mogul — or signal a “runaway jury” that’s ignoring the judge’s instructions, legal experts said Friday.

According to the verdict sheet, the Manhattan Supreme Court jury can’t consider charges of rape and criminal sexual assault against Weinstein unless it first reaches a verdict on more serious counts of predatory sexual assault, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

But the note that jurors sent out Friday afternoon asked whether they could “be hung” on the top counts “and unanimous on all the other charges.”

“If they’re saying they have a verdict on the substantive counts but are deadlocked the predatory counts, that seemingly suggests a finding of guilt” involving accusers Jessica Mann or Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi, said defense lawyer Mark Bederow, a former Manhattan prosecutor.

Defense lawyer and former Manhattan prosecutor Michael Bachner agreed, saying, “Reading tea leaves here, the jury’s note seems to reflect bad news for Mr. Weinstein.”

But defense lawyer Todd Spodek, who recently represented fake heiress Anna Sorokin in a case that’s being turned into a Netflix series, said the jury could be confused about how it’s supposed to deliberate.

“The verdict sheet is so convoluted that it’s difficult for even a lawyer to understand, and before they got it, they had sit through an incredibly complex jury charge,” Spodek said.

“This combination has the potential to lead to a runaway jury. This jury could completely disregard the judge’s instructions.”

Source : Rebecca Rosenberg, Bruce Golding Link

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