Actor Mel Gibson could be called to testify during former film producer Harvey Weinstein’s trial on sex-related charges involving five women, a judge ruled Friday.
Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench said at a hearing that she may change her position on whether Gibson will be allowed to testify after hearing the testimony of one of the alleged victims, a masseuse who has been identified at the hearing and in court documents as ”Jane Doe #3.”
Weinstein — who produced such films as “Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction” — is charged with sexual battery by restraint of the woman.
One of Weinstein’s attorneys, Mark Werksman, objected to the prosecution’s request to call Gibson as a potential witness during the trial, saying that the defense believes he had a “bias and prejudice toward Mr. Weinstein.”
The judge said she would allow the defense to question Gibson about “whether or not there is personal animosity between the two of them,” but said Weinstein’s attorneys couldn’t ask the actor about “his other comments that may indicate his general demeanor about … people who are not of his ilk.”
Jury selection is set to continue Monday afternoon in Weinstein’s trial.
Weinstein, now 70, was initially charged in January 2020 by Los Angeles County prosecutors with forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by use of force involving one woman on Feb. 18, 2013, and sexual battery by restraint involving another woman a day later.
Weinstein was subsequently charged in April 2020 with sexual battery by restraint involving “Jane Doe 3” in a Beverly Hills hotel room in May 2010. In November 2020, prosecutors added six more counts — three counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation — involving two other alleged victims in Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2010.
A grand jury subsequently indicted Weinstein on the same charges in March 2021.
Weinstein was extradited from New York, where he was convicted of raping an aspiring actress and of a criminal sex act against a former production assistant. The state’s highest court has since agreed to hear his appeal involving that case.
The judge — who described the charges as “essentially sexually assaults or assaults of a sexual nature” — told prospective jurors that the trial is expected to last about two months, including the jury selection process, which began Monday.