Harvey Weinstein jurors ask if they can be hung on certain counts
(CNN) — Jurors in Harvey Weinstein’s trial asked the judge Friday if they can be hung on some counts but unanimous on others, suggesting they may be deadlocked on the two most serious charges.
The jury asked if they could fail to reach a unanimous verdict on Count 1 and/or Count 3 while agreeing on other counts. Count 1 is predatory sexual assault related to Miriam Haley and Annabella Sciorra. Count 3 is predatory sexual assault related to Jessica Mann and Sciorra. Predatory sexual assault is punishable by up to life in prison.
The judge told the jurors to continue deliberating on those charges and said that any verdict they return must be unanimous.
“If you cannot return a verdict on a particular count, you cannot return a verdict on that count,” he said.
Defense attorneys noted on the record that they were willing to accept a partial verdict. The government was not.
Deliberations ended for the day at 3 p.m., and jurors are expected to return to court to continue deliberating Monday morning.
The jury has sent in 10 notes since deliberations began Tuesday. Several of the notes have related to Sciorra’s allegations, and earlier in the day, court reporters read aloud a transcript of parts of her testimony after jurors asked to rehear it.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual act, two counts of rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault. The charges are based on Haley’s testimony that Weinstein forced oral sex on her in 2006 and Mann’s testimony that he raped her in 2013 during what she described as an abusive relationship.
Some of the charges are structured as either/or counts, so Weinstein can only be convicted of two charges at most — one based on Mann’s allegations and one based on Haley’s.
Four other women, including “Sopranos” actress Sciorra, also testified that Weinstein sexually attacked them as prosecutors sought to show that he used his power in the movie industry to prey on young, inexperienced women.
Sciorra’s testimony that he raped her in the winter of 1993-1994 is outside of the statute of limitations, but it can be used to support the predatory sexual assault charges, which requires serious sex crimes against at least two victims.
However, Weinstein’s defense attorneys argued that the sexual encounters were consensual. As evidence, they pointed out that both Haley and Mann had sex with Weinstein after the alleged attacks, and they continued to have friendly contact with him for years afterward. He has also denied allegations of non-consensual sexual activity related to the other women.
The women’s testimonies highlighted thorny questions around consent and power dynamics at the heart of the #MeToo movement — questions that have rarely, if ever, been tested in a courtroom.
Once an acclaimed producer of movies such as “Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction,” Weinstein was accused by multiple women of a wide range of sexual misconduct in stories published in October 2017 in The New York Times and The New Yorker. A wave of similar claims against other influential men for allegedly abusing their power ensued in what is now known as the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein also faces charges of sexual assault and rape in separate incidents in Los Angeles.