The defence team of Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial in New York City rested its case, on February 11, after the disgraced movie mogul declined to testify. Weinstein chose not to take the witness stand, apparently to avoid the risk of being grilled by prosecutors during the cross-examination.
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 are likely to make their closing arguments on February 13 which will be followed by prosecution’s final arguments on the next day.
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 looked 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.
Weinstein’s lawyers have suggested that the 34-year-old former actress was in a consensual relationship with the film producer. They contend that the accuser manipulated Weinstein and had sexual encounters with him because she knew the perks of relation with the movie mogul.
(With AP inputs)