In Brief

Harvey Weinstein trial set to finish early

Lawyers could deliver closing arguments within days

Harvey Weinstein is calling more defence witnesses as his trial appears set for an early conclusion.

The trial, which began on January 6, was originally predicted to last up to two months, but it now seems that lawyers could deliver their closing arguments as soon as this week, as the case proceeds swiftly.

What did the prosecution say?

Prosecutors rested their case last Thursday after jurors heard testimony from six women accusing Weinstein of sexual assault, including Haley and Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein raped her in her home in the early 1990s.

NPR has produced a detailed, harrowing, summary of the prosecution case, including the testimony of Sciorra.

What was the defence’s case?

The case for the defence began by calling Paul Feldsher, once a close friend of Sciorra, who testified that Sciorra told him she had done a “crazy thing with Harvey” but gave no indication that it was non-consensual.

Page Six says that Feldsher “crashed and burned” and seemed “flustered” during his testimony.

Weinstein’s team has also drawn testimony from Elizabeth Loftus, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, who testified that memories could be distorted over time.

What happens next?

At the opening of the trial, prosecutor Meghan Hast claimed that Weinstein was a “seasoned” sexual predator for whom vulnerable actresses were prey.

She added that “at the end of this trial the evidence will be clear that the man seated right there was not a titan in Hollywood, he was a rapist”. Now, it seems, that end will come sooner than expected.

The stakes are high. Reuters says Weinstein’s trial is a “key moment in the #MeToo movement in which women have accused powerful men in business, entertainment, media and politics of sexual misconduct”.

The Times of India says that many of Weinstein’s accusers are following the case with mixed emotions: “Hope, that Weinstein will be punished; fear, that he could be acquitted and regain his kingpin status in the movie business”.

Weinstein faces life in prison if convicted of predatory sexual assault, the most serious charge against him.

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