By Brendan Pierson
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jurors in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial appeared to take a methodical approach in their deliberations on Wednesday, asking to review testimony from a former production assistant who says Weinstein raped her as well as from actress Rosie Perez.
The jury also asked to see texts to Weinstein from defense witness Paul Feldsher before ending their second day of deliberations. Jurors are expected to continue their discussions on Thursday.
Weinstein, smiling as he left court for the day, was asked by a reporter whether he was worried. The expression on the former Hollywood producer’s face turned serious, and he shook his head no.
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the production assistant, Mimi Haleyi in 2006, and raping Jessica Mann, a onetime aspiring actress, in 2013.
Jurors asked to review parts of Haleyi’s testimony, as well as emails between her and Weinstein and emails from Weinstein mentioning her.
Haleyi, who was a production assistant on the fashion reality show “Project Runway,” testified that Weinstein “lunged” at her in his New York home in 2006, backing her into a bedroom and forcing oral sex on her.
Haleyi’s testimony was read to the jurors by two court stenographers, with one asking questions and the other giving the responses.
The jury also asked to review emails related to Annabella Sciorra, who testified that Weinstein entered her New York apartment one winter night in 1993 or 1994 and raped her. The accusation is too old to be charged as a separate crime, but it could act as an aggravating factor to support a predatory sexual assault charge, which carries a potential life sentence.
The jurors asked to review testimony from actress Perez, who corroborated Sciorra’s story during the trial. Perez said Sciorra told her about the alleged attack after it happened.
However, Feldsher, a writer, testified for the defense that Sciorra told him she had “done this crazy thing with Harvey,” and that he understood her to mean she had “fooled around with him.” Feldsher said he had no indication it was a negative experience.
The jurors’ requests suggest they are considering the first of five counts against Weinstein.
Earlier in the day, one of his lawyers, Damon Cheronis, renewed a request to boot a juror from the case because of her online review, posted during the trial, of a novel titled “My Dark Vanessa.”
The book is partly set during the #MeToo movement, in which women have accused powerful men in business, entertainment, news media and politics of sexual misconduct.
The judge, James Burke, denied the request.
The same juror wrote her own novel about young women and “predatory” older men. The defense had tried to exclude her from the jury before the trial began.
Since 2017, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Weinstein, whose films include “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love,” has denied the allegations and said any sexual encounters were consensual.
(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Jonathan Oatis)