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In Opening Statements, Attorneys Tell a Tale of Two Harvey

Harvey Weinstein opening statements

Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan court docket home for the primary day of opening statements at his trial on January 22, 2020 in New York City. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

More than a 12 months after the New York district legal professional’s workplace arrested and charged Harvey Weinstein for intercourse crimes, attorneys for the protection and prosecution appeared in court docket on Wednesday to color their very own image of Harvey Weinstein.

Wednesday’s proceedings marked the start of what has been — and can possible proceed to be — a contentious trial lasting a number of months. After the jury of 12 individuals and three alternates was sworn in, the prosecution launched into detailed retellings of how Annabella Sciorra, Mimi Haleyi, Jessica Mann, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff, and Lauren Young — the six ladies anticipated to testify within the trial — say Weinstein assaulted them. While the prosecution’s fees hinge on the accounts of Haleyi and Mann (who was beforehand unnamed earlier than Wednesday’s proceedings) the testimonies from the opposite 4 ladies may assist the state make the case that Weinstein was a predator.

“During this trial, you are going to learn that the defendant is a savvy New York City businessman, that he was a famous and powerful Hollywood producer, living a lavish lifestyle that most of us will never know and will come to learn, most of us will not want to know,” Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast mentioned. “But the evidence both from the witness stand and from exhibits admitted during the trial will also show that that man was a sexual predator and a rapist.”

As Hast started sharing graphic particulars of the alleged assaults, she projected images onto a big TV display within the courtroom of Weinstein in his heyday, standing earlier than lots of of reporters on a crimson carpet and posing with former President Bill Clinton, contrasted with pictures of the ladies who shall be testifying within the coming weeks. Included in Hast’s retellings have been particulars about violent habits and a pervasive sense of concern that the ladies felt.

“Ladies and gentlemen, ultimately this trial is about the defendant’s desire for conquest. And it is for his complete lack of empathy that he must be held accountable,” Hast mentioned close to the top of her opening.

But roughly two hours later, when Weinstein’s legal professional Damon Cheronis stood to offer his facet’s opening, Cheronis rapidly criticized the prosecution for calling his shopper a “predator” and “rapist.”

“What we just heard from Ms. Hast was truly a narrative that was spun to explain things that are inexplicable,” he mentioned. “Everything that Ms. Hast just told you is not evidence. None of it. She wasn’t there, she doesn’t know. She’s relying on what [the women] told her.”

Cheronis then started to retell the accounts of the ladies from a distinct angle, one which depicted Weinstein as a person having consensual relationships along with his accusers and never a “master manipulator.”

To achieve this, Cheronis additionally used a PowerPoint and quoted from seemingly pleasant emails despatched by a few of the witnesses towards Weinstein, suggesting that the messages indicated the encounters didn’t quantity to sexual assault. He additionally introduced up the timelines of every lady’s account and questioned the sequence of occasions that occurred after the alleged assaults, together with situations the place the witnesses reached out to Weinstein for additional contact.

“At some point during the course of this trial,” Cheronis mentioned to the jury, “you’re going to say, ‘Oh my God, Harvey Weinstein is innocent.’”

A black-suited Weinstein entered the packed courtroom round 9:17 a.m. ET with out the help of a walker. He was propped up by his publicist and headed straight for…

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