Harvey Weinstein’s defence team will make its final case, on February 13, at the rape trial in New York City to get an acquittal for the disgraced movie mogul. The defence lawyers rested their case on February 11 after Weinstein refused to take the witness stand, apparently to avoid cross-examination from the prosecutors.
However, defence lawyer Arthur Aidala claimed that Weinstein was willing and “quite anxious” to testify but the prosecutors “failed miserably” to carry the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The defence lawyers will make their closing arguments on February 13 which will be followed by prosecution’s final arguments the next day.
Weinstein is accused of several sexual misconducts, assault, and rape and will face life in prison if gets convicted for the most serious charges. Former actress Jessica Mann alleged that Weinstein raped her in a Manhattan hotel room but the film producer denied all allegations and pleaded not guilty.
Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lead attorney, had grilled Mann’s friends with aggressive cross-examination to undermine her claims. Rotunno tried to establish that all the relations of Weinstein were consensual and will try to make the final case with her closing arguments on Thursday.
Tommy Lozano, a friend of primary accuser Jessica Mann, took the witness stand on Tuesday where he testified that the former actress looked “normal” on the morning after she was allegedly raped by Weinstein in a hotel room in March 2013. Lozano said that she didn’t appear to be in distress when they had breakfast with Weinstein and look like “her everyday self”.
The defence team had also called Mann’s former friend and actress Talita Maia to take the witness stand on February 10. Maia had testified that the 34-year-old former actress didn’t seem distressed on the day of the alleged rape and described the movie mogul as her “spiritual soulmate”.
Mann, during her testimony, had said that her claims should not be dismissed just because she had a complicated relationship with Weinstein. Mann testified that Weinstein forced her to perform sexual acts and raped her twice over the period of ‘abusive relationship’.
“I know the history of my relationship with him. I know it was complicated and difficult. But that doesn’t change the fact that he raped me,” said Mann.
(With AP inputs)
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