Weinstein's defence team rests its case

The lawyers of Harvey Weinstein.
The lawyers of Harvey Weinstein.

NEW YORK • The lawyers of Harvey Weinstein rested their case at the producer's sexual assault trial and told the court on Tuesday that their client would not take the stand.

One of his lawyers said in a New York state court that the fallen Hollywood power broker would not testify because prosecutors had not met their burden of proof in supporting the charges of rape and predatory sexual assault against him.

Weinstein's defence team ended its case by calling to the stand a friend of Jessica Mann, one of the producer's key accusers.

Hollywood agent Tommy Richards Lozano testified that he did not notice anything unusual in her behaviour or demeanour on the day she alleged Weinstein raped her in a Manhattan hotel in March 2013.

Weinstein, 67, is charged with assaulting two women - former actress Mann in 2013 and former production assistant Miriam Haley in 2006.

He maintains that all the sexual encounters were consensual and mutually beneficial as the young women pursued their careers.

The trial, which began last month, has riveted the nation and served as a focal point for the #MeToo movement.

The judge told the jurors on Tuesday that they should expect to hear closing arguments from defence lawyer Donna Rotunno, then from prosecutor Joan Illuzzi at the end of the week.

The court was closed yesterday for Abraham Lincoln's birthday holiday.

The trial has moved faster than expected. During jury selection, the judge told potential jurors it could run into next month.

"So that's the plan," he said.

"Do not come in on Wednesday because it's a court holiday."

After the long Presidents Day weekend, he will give legal instructions to the jurors on Tuesday, after which they will begin deliberations.

He warned the panel, as he does at the end of every day, not to read about the case or do research from sources outside the courtroom.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2020, with the headline 'Weinstein's defence team rests its case'. Print Edition | Subscribe