Harvey Weinstein rape case may turn on history of prior 'bad acts'

(Reuters) – A Big apple jury’s verdict within the sexual attack trial of former Hollywood manufacturer Harvey Weinstein would possibly neatly hold at the testimony of 3 girls whose accusations weren’t a part of the underlying felony case.

FILE PHOTO: Movie manufacturer Harvey Weinstein and legal professional Donna Rotunno go away New York Legal Courtroom throughout his ongoing sexual attack trial within the Big apple borough of New York Town, New York, U.S., February 14, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Deliberations had been anticipated to start on Tuesday on the subject of Weinstein, 67, who pleaded now not responsible to sexually assaulting former manufacturing assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping Jessica Mann, a onetime aspiring actress.

Throughout the six-week trial, the 3 different girls – gown dressmaker Daybreak Dunning, style Tarale Wulff and actress Lauren Younger – testified they had been enticed into assembly Weinstein for pro causes after which groped or raped.

They testified about encounters cut loose the crimes Weinstein was once accused of committing.

Prosecutors referred to as the ladies as witnesses to take a look at to determine Weinstein’s cause and a signature trend of habits that prison mavens described as doubtlessly tough proof that may bolster the claims of Haleyi and Mann.

“The amount and selection of witnesses like that make it in reality tricky for the protection to be triumphant,” mentioned Daniel Hochheiser, a New York felony protection legal professional and previous Bronx prosecutor.

New York legislation usually prevents prosecutors from presenting testimony of “prior dangerous acts,” as it’s in most cases thought to be prejudicial to a defendant.

“You’ll’t admit dangerous acts to turn that that is the type of one who does this so much, and so most definitely did it in this instance,” mentioned Deborah Tuerkheimer, a former Big apple prosecutor who’s now a professor at Northwestern Regulation.


An exception to the legislation allowed prosecutors to name Dunning, Wulff and Younger to turn Weinstein “had a specific aim” or exhibited a “signature” trend of habits when he invited girls to fulfill and talk about skilled alternatives.

Underneath New York state legislation, such witnesses are referred to as “Molineux” witnesses.

A legal professional for Weinstein, Arthur Aidala, mentioned it was once “ordinary to have 3 Molineux witnesses testify when there are handiest two complaining witnesses.”

“It’s incessantly tricky for prosecutors to persuade a pass judgement on to permit one Molineux witness,” he mentioned in an electronic mail.

Dunning testified that the manufacturer groped her in 2004 and introduced her film roles in trade for three-way intercourse with him and his assistant, which she refused.

Younger, a style and actress, testified that the movie manufacturer trapped her in a lodge toilet in 2013, masturbated in entrance of her whilst groping her breasts, and informed her: “That is what all of the actresses do to make it.”

On cross-examination, the protection challenged the ladies’s credibility. In Dunning’s case, Weinstein’s attorneys pressed her about her determination to fulfill with Weinstein weeks after the alleged attack and the truth that she didn’t inform someone concerning the come upon till years later.

However the sexual attack trial of comic Invoice Cosby means that the have an effect on of prior dangerous acts testimony will also be tricky for the protection to conquer.

Pennsylvania prosecutors charged Cosby in December 2016 with a 2004 attack of Andrea Constand, a former Temple College administrator.

About 50 girls accused Cosby, now 82, of sexual attacks going again a long time. Cosby denied the accusations, insisting all of the encounters had been consensual.

A primary trial, with proof from one “prior dangerous acts” witness, ended with a deadlocked jury. A 2d trial integrated testimony from 5 different girls who accused Cosby of drugging and sexual attack, although some occasions happened a long time previous and had no connection to Constand.

A jury convicted Cosby in 2018, and he was once sentenced to as much as 10 years in jail. In January, Cosby requested Pennsylvania’s easiest courtroom to overturn the conviction.

Cosby’s attorneys mentioned in courtroom papers that within the #MeToo generation, “one can’t consider extra prejudicial testimony” than a parade of girls attesting about sexual misconduct, which his attorneys mentioned had no connection to the crime.

“This additionally left him within the place of getting six trials in a single,” they mentioned.

Reporting by means of Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware, and Brendan Pierson in New York; Modifying by means of Noeleen Walder and Howard Goller

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Agree with Ideas.

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