NEW YORK (Reuters) – More than 100 possible jurors at the Harvey Weinstein rape trial reported Thursday to the Manhattan criminal court as lawyers strive to choose 12 impartial New Yorkers to decide the fate of the former magnate of the movie.
Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at the New York Criminal Court for trial for sexual assault in the Manhattan district of New York City, New York, USA. UU., January 16, 2020. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid
Potential jurors, who passed an initial pre-selection round, included supermodel Gigi Hadid, who said he had met Weinstein before but that, however, could be fair. Hadid was excused from service early in the day.
More than 60 potential jurors were excused based on the answers they had given in written questionnaires.
On Thursday, a jury man received a subpoena to appear in court on March 10 to face the possible contempt for publishing the case on social media. Judge James Burke told the man that he could face a fine or up to 30 days in jail.
Weinstein, 67, pleaded not guilty to the charges of assaulting two women and faces life imprisonment if convicted of the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault.
Since 2017, more than 80 women, including many famous actresses, have accused him of sexual misconduct that goes back decades. Weinstein has denied the accusations, saying that any sexual encounter he has had was agreed upon.
The accusations helped boost the #MeToo movement, in which women have made themselves public with accusations of misconduct against powerful men in business, entertainment and politics.
Weinstein’s trial began on January 6 and is expected to last up to months.
The jurors who showed up on Thursday had already passed a pre-selection round during the last week, saying they could be impartial and be part of the jury.
Legal experts have said that selecting impartial jurors in a case that has attracted a lot of publicity could be difficult.
Both parties are likely to question potential jurors about their knowledge and opinion about the case, their work history and whether they have been victims of sexual misconduct, experts said.
Weinstein, once one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, left his mark with critically acclaimed films such as “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
On January 6, when the trial began in New York, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced new charges of sexual assault against Weinstein.
On Wednesday, Weinstein filed a last-minute motion before a New York appeals court to delay his trial and move out of Manhattan, arguing that the “carnival atmosphere” surrounding the case prevented him from obtaining a fair trial. The court has not ruled.