After four long days of deliberation, the 12 jurors tasked with deciding Harvey Weinstein’s fate indicated in a note to the judge that they may be deadlocked on the most serious charges in the disgraced producer’s rape trial.
On Friday, after spending the morning listening to Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra’s testimony, the jurors sent a note to Manhattan Supreme Court Judge James Burke asking if they could “be hung” on the two counts of predatory sexual assault if they are “unanimous” on the other three charges against him: criminal act in the first degree, rape in the first degree, and rape in the third degree.
“We the jury request to understand whether we can be hung on [charges] 1 and/or 3 and unanimous on the other charges,” the note said.
After multiple private conversations with Burke, the defense stated they were willing to accept the verdict, but the prosecution said they wished for the jury to continue deliberating.
Burke told the jury to continue deliberating on Monday, stating it is not “uncommon to initially not be in agreement.”
“Any verdict you return on any counts must be unanimous,” he told them, causing two jurors to shake their heads. “So I will ask you to continue your deliberations.”
The 12 jurors will reconvene on Monday to continue discussing Weinstein’s fate.
The jury, comprised of seven men and five women, has been deliberating since Tuesday on whether the movie mogul is guilty of five charges, including rape and predatory sexual assault. The charges hinge on allegations made by two women: Miriam Haleyi, who says she was sexually assaulted inside his SoHo apartment in 2006, and Jessica Mann, who said she was raped inside a New York hotel room in 2013.
A majority of their questions have revolved around the 59-year-old Sciorra—who testified that Weinstein violently raped her in her apartment—suggesting they are closely focusing on the predatory sexual assault charge.
Jurors have been told to consider her testimony in deciding whether to find Weinstein guilty of two counts of predatory sexual assault, the most serious count against Weinstein that carries with it a potential sentence of life behind bars.
“The logic of the charges would likely guide the jury to work through the evidence starting with the individual charges (rape in the third degree concerning Mann; criminal sexual act in the first degree concerning Haley; rape in the first degree concerning Mann) then turning to the Sciorra testimony required for the most severe predatory sexual assault charges,” Heidi Reavis, a New York attorney with Reavis Page Jump, told The Daily Beast.
She added: “A deadlock concerning two of the charges may point to a schism concerning the two most series predatory sexual assault charges where only oral testimony about events 27 years ago is on the table. It would be a gross miscarriage of justice for credible testimony to be discounted because of the lack of paper or plastic confirming it.”
Over the last 22 hours of deliberations, jurors have sorted through hundreds of pages of evidence, and re-listened to several hours of testimony.
As jurors deliberate, the disgraced producer has been passing the time by reading a Malcolm Gladwell book and munching rolls of mentos, a source told the New York Post.
“From an optics perspective, I think they realize the responsibility of their decision and the attention it will receive either way. So they are taking their time and understanding their obligation,” Adam Citron, a former prosecutor in New York, told The Daily Beast. “If they had come back with a decision after five minutes, it would have looked really bad.”
During his four-week trial, a half a dozen women gave graphic testimony against Weinstein to bolster the crux of the prosecution’s case: that the Oscar-winner used his power and prestige in the entertainment industry to prey on women for over three decades, promising to kickstart their careers in exchange for sex acts.
The defense maintains Weinstein only had consensual sexual relationships with the women who testified against him.
The jury has sent 11 notes to Burke over the last four days, asking to review evidence such as a blueprint of Weinstein’s SoHo loft and for definitions of legal terms including “consent” and “forcible compulsion.”
On Thursday, jurors asked for a full reading of the Sopranos star’s Jan. 23 testimony. They also requested a list of people that Sciorra spoke to about her allegation and an explanation as to why Weinstein was not charged with other crimes related to Sciorra’s account.
Since jurors do not have access to transcripts of witness testimony, two court reporters have been tasked with re-reading hours of testimony to refresh their memories—often garnering smiles and laughs from the courtroom while jurors dutifully take down notes.
On Friday, halfway through listening to Sciorra’s cross-examination, which put one juror to sleep, the judge received a note from the jury saying they’d “heard enough.”
“The jury seems to be quite focused on Annabella Sciorra. It is natural to try to glean the jury's decision-making process from their questions, but it is a very inexact science,” Cheryl Bader, a professor at Fordham University’s law school, told The Daily Beast. “That said, Annabella is a less messy witness for the prosecution. Her relationship with Harvey Weinstein was less complex than the relationship he had with the two complainants in the case.”
Earlier in the week, jurors asked to review emails and all communications related to Sciorra and the “red flag list” that Weinstein sent to a private detective he’d hired to investigate several women—including the Emmy-nominated actress.
During Wednesday’s deliberations, jurors also listened to testimony from accuser Haleyi, 42, and actress Rosie Perez—who recalled the moment Sciorra told her over the phone that she’d been raped.
To date, jurors have not asked any questions relating to Mann, 34, who during her emotional three-day testimony recalled how Weinstein allegedly assaulted her multiple times during their twisted relationship—including raping her in a DoubleTree Hotel room in March 2013 and attacking her again months later at a Beverly Hills hotel.
Weinstein’s defense attorneys have insisted Mann was not a victim but a manipulative opportunist, pointing to the many friendly emails she sent the Shakespeare in Love producer over the years.
In their first note on Tuesday, jurors asked to review a PowerPoint presentation from Dr. Barbara Ziv, a forensic psychiatrist who testified about the “myths of rape trauma” for the prosecution. Since Ziv’s presentation—in which she stated it is “extremely common” for accusers to keep in contact with their attackers—was never entered into evidence, the jury was not granted their request.
“I think it’s going to be a couple more days until they reach a verdict,” Citron said, before adding: “but you honestly never know a jury as much as you think.”