Jury selection in the high-profile rape trial of Harvey Weinstein is expected to enter its second week Monday, as the judge and lawyers in the case choose a panel of 12 impartial New Yorkers to decide the former movie producer’s fate.
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women and faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault. His trial began Jan. 6 and could last up to two months.
Weinstein, once one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers, made his mark with critically acclaimed films such as “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
Since 2017, more than 80 women, including many famous actresses, have accused him of sexual misconduct dating back decades. Weinstein has denied the allegations, saying any sexual encounters he had were consensual.
The allegations helped fuel the #MeToo movement, in which women have gone public with misconduct allegations against powerful men in business and politics.
Jury selection in Weinstein’s case is in its first phase, with potential jurors being pre-screened for possible bias. A more intensive phase is expected to begin Thursday in which lawyers will ask more detailed questions about jurors’ backgrounds.
Out of 360 potential jurors summoned last week, 106 passed pre-screening, with many excused after saying they could not be impartial. Others were let go for health reasons or because serving in the trial would be a hardship.
Friday’s jury selection proceedings were punctuated by a protest, with about 100 women carrying pots and pans dancing across the street from the courthouse.