NEW YORK — As Hollywood tuned in bright and early Monday morning for the Oscar nominations, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein arrived at a New York City courtroom for the second week of his sex-crimes trial.
Weinstein showed up later than usual to court, arriving around 9:20 a.m. in a dark gray suit. He sat with his head down, save for when he was speaking with lawyer Donna Rotunno.
Weinstein’s Miramax and The Weinstein Company used to rule during Oscars season. The former movie mogul cobbled together 341 Oscar nominations and 81 wins via films like “The King’s Speech,” “The Artist” and “Shakespeare in Love,” all of which won best picture.
Weinstein was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board in October 2017 after news exposés were published accusing him of sexual assault.
On Monday, things were off to a slow start in court as Judge James Burke instructed the prosecution and defense to continue meeting to review juror questionnaires in the hopes of finding unbiased citizens who can serve on the jury for the case.
Burke told the courtroom so far the jury screening process has been efficient and is “working well.” Burke said he wishes to see the jury screening process complete by the middle of this week so jury selection can begin Thursday.
Throughout Week 1, Weinstein’s legal team repeatedly clashed with Burke, as attempts to push back the trial, ban journalists from watching jury selection, and even remove the judge himself were all denied. Throw in protesters and a medical “emergency” that temporarily halted court proceedings – Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi got something in her eye – and it was a fairly unpredictable five days in court.
Jury selection resumed Monday with hundreds of potential jurors set to appear in court this week and fill out questionnaires, helping determine whether they can give the disgraced movie mogul a fair and impartial trial.
On Friday, many people said they could not be fair and impartial toward Weinstein, while one man said that he had worked with one of Weinstein’s charities in the past and would be “uncomfortable” if chosen for the jury.
Others said that they could be fair and impartial, despite having met or worked with members of Weinstein’s defense and Charlize Theron, who’s listed as a potential witness in the trial. “Like a Boss” actress Salma Hayek was also named as a potential witness.
The pre-screening elimination of potential jurors is expected to continue through at least Thursday, and opening statements are targeted for Jan. 22.
Weinstein, 67, is accused of five sex crimes in New York involving encounters with two women.
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