The jury that convicted former film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting a former model/actress in the Los Angeles area in 2013 deadlocked Tuesday on whether there were aggravating factors that could wind up lengthening his maximum potential prison sentence.
Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench declared a mistrial following nearly a day of deliberations by the jury in connection with allegations that the manner in which Weinstein carried out his crimes indicated planning, sophistication and professionalism, and whether the victim — referred to in court only as “Jane Doe #1” — was “particularly vulnerable.”
The eight-man, four-woman jury was handed the latest phase of the case at about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday after less than an hour of arguments from attorneys in Weinstein’s trial. Jurors proclaimed by mid-afternoon that they were deadlocked.
Weinstein, 70, faces up to 18 years in prison for the counts on which he was convicted Monday, although the aggravating factors — if they had been found by jurors to be true — could have lifted the total maximum sentence to 24 years.
Prosecutors still have to decide whether they want to retry the alleged aggravating factors, along with charges on which jurors deadlocked involving Jane Doe #2 and Jane Doe #4 — the latter of whom has been publicly identified by her attorney as Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom. Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson told the judge that the prosecution wants to consult with the alleged victims.
Weinstein, who is due back at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse Jan. 9, was convicted Monday afternoon of three of the seven counts he was facing — forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by a foreign object. All three of those counts related to Jane Doe #1, with the crimes occurring on or about Feb. 18, 2013.
The judge noted that she has to do research on whether Weinstein’s sentencing could go forward on the charges for which he was convicted, and bifurcate the remainder of the case on the charges on which the jury could not reach verdicts.
Jurors — who spent about 41 hours in deliberations before finding Weinstein guilty of the attack on Jane Doe #1 — deadlocked on a charge of sexual battery by restraint involving an alleged attack in February 2013 against Jane Doe #2 and counts of forcible oral copulation and forcible rape involving an alleged attack in 2005 on Jane Doe #4.
The jury acquitted Weinstein of a felony charge of sexual battery by restraint involving an alleged attack on a masseuse — Jane Doe #3 — in 2010, but deadlocked on a lesser count involving the same woman. The judge noted that the misdemeanor count was not charged, and the prosecution said it didn’t intend to move forward involving that alleged victim.
The judge declared a mistrial Monday on the counts on which jurors said they could not reach a verdict. The panel’s foreman indicated they were split with a majority in favor of conviction on those charges.
One of the jurors — who identified himself only as “Juror #7” — told reporters Tuesday afternoon following the split on the aggravating factors that he thought “everybody kind of realized the weight of this case” and that “everybody really wanted to do their level best in order to get it right.”
He said he voted in favor of convicting Weinstein of the charges involving Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 and in favor of acquitting Weinstein of the felony charge involving Jane Doe #3 along with the charges involving the governor’s wife, whom he noted had subsequently sent 35 emails to Weinstein.
Another juror said the panel had been split 6-6 on the charges involving Siebel Newsom and noted that the jury’s vote subsequently switched to 8-4 in favor of guilt after her testimony was “re-read” without the courtroom drama.
In his argument Tuesday relating to the aggravating factors, the prosecutor told jurors that Jane Doe #1 was still in “obvious pain” when she testified and noted that she was in a foreign country, with her support system — friends and family — all in Italy.
Thompson noted the manner in which the crimes were committed, saying the victim was “letting her guard down” in her hotel room when Weinstein showed in a “surprise” situation.
“He knew what he was going to do. She didn’t,” the deputy district attorney said, adding that it put Weinstein at an advantage and her at a disadvantage.
The prosecutor told jurors that common sense would indicate that Weinstein was showing up to sexually assault her, not to talk about her children.
Defense attorney Mark Werksman countered that jurors should reject the additional allegations and find that they do not apply to the case.
He told jurors that Jane Doe #1 was “not a particularly vulnerable victim,” saying that she was 34 years old, “physically fit” and a “dynamic woman” who was a regular at the Los Angeles Italia Film Fashion and Art Festival, which she was in town to attend.
“This was not a woman who was alone and vulnerable and cut off from the world,” Weinstein’s lawyer said, noting that she let his client into her hotel room and had a cell phone and the hotel room phone at her disposal.
He noted that he and fellow defense attorney Alan Jackson along with Weinstein “disagree with and are disappointed with the jury verdict,” but said the verdict reflects the panel’s hard work and commitment to the case.
Prosecutors argued during the trial that Weinstein used his position as one of Hollywood’s most successful movie producers to gain access to and sexually assault women. Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson told jurors at the start of the case that Weinstein and his brother, Bob, created Miramax Films, which produced a number of “iconic and award-winning films” including “Pulp Fiction,” “The English Patient,” “Good Will Hunting” and “Shakespeare In Love,” among others. The movies launched the careers of Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow and Quentin Tarantino, Thompson said.
Weinstein won an Oscar as a producer of best-picture winner “Shakespeare in Love.”
Weinstein — who Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez had earlier called a “titan of the film industry” — engaged in “despicable behavior” and made sure that the alleged victims knew he “could destroy them,” the prosecutor said in her closing argument. Martinez told jurors that Weinstein used his power to prey on and silence women. She called him a “predator,” and said none of the women making accusations against Weinstein knew each other.
But Jackson told the jury that the entirety of the prosecution’s case could be summed up with five words — “Take my word for it” — and said the alleged victims lied on the stand about what was actually “consensual” or “transactional” sex with the now-disgraced filmmaker.
“Did one person come in here and say, `I said no to Harvey Weinstein and he screwed my career?’ Was there one? … Not one person said that because it’s a fable … It just isn’t true,” Jackson said.
The producer did not testify in his own defense.
Prosecutors opted not to proceed with four criminal counts — two counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation — involving “Jane Doe #5,” who had not been mentioned in the prosecution’s opening statement but was one of the charged victims in the indictment against Weinstein.
During the trial, jurors also heard from four other women who were allegedly sexually assaulted by Weinstein, but were not listed as charged victims in the case.
Siebel Newsom — a documentary filmmaker — told jurors in her testimony that she still lives with the trauma of being raped and sexually assaulted by Weinstein in his suite at The Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel in September 2005.
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement Monday praising his wife “and all the brave women who came forward to share their truth and uplift countless survivors who cannot. Their strength, courage and conviction is a powerful example and inspiration to all of us. We must keep fighting to ensure that survivors are supported and that their voices are heard.”