Weinstein lawyers wrap up as mogul faces potential life sentence
Harvey Weinstein saw aspiring actresses as “complete disposables”, lawyers have said in the closing statements of his rape trial.
Mimicking the Hollywood mogul, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said: “The universe is run by me and they don’t get to complain when they get stepped on, spit on, demoralised and, yes, raped and abused by me – the king.”
Weinstein, 67, is accused of five counts, including rape and predatory sexual assault, relating to two women.
The jury will decide his fate next week and he could get a life sentence if found guilty.
Weinstein insists all the sexual encounters were consensual.
During the prosecution’s closing arguments in New York, Ms Illuzzi showed photos of six women who testified about Weinstein’s alleged predatory behaviour, including Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra.
She said that apart from Ms Sciorra, who had become more successful, the others were “complete disposables” and “were never going to be in his world”.
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The prosecutor also showed a comparison of testimony from his rape accuser, Jessica Mann, about his reaction when she told him she had a boyfriend, and Ms Sciorra’s testimony about confronting Weinstein after he allegedly raped her in the mid-1990s.
Ms Mann said: “His eyes changed and he was not there. They were very black and he ripped me up.”
The court was then shown Ms Sciorra’s testimony, in which she said: “His eyes went black and I thought he was going to hit me right there.”
The fall of the king of Hollywood
The similar testimonies were used as part of an effort to show Weinstein had used the same tactics over the years.
The charges against him relate to Miriam Haley, a former Project Runway production assistant, who says Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her 2006; and Jessica Mann – who says she was raped twice in 2013 while in a “complicated” relationship with Weinstein.
Closing arguments by Weinstein’s defence team on Thursday said the allegations were simply “regret named as rape” and that the prosecution had tried to paint a “sinister tale”.
They urged jurors to resist being swayed by an “overzealous media”
The trial is the culmination of one of the biggest scandals in Hollywood history and the catalyst for the #MeToo movement that began in 2017.
More than 80 women have claimed they were attacked or harassed by the producer – once a lauded Hollywood figure behind such hits as The King’s Speech, Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting.