On Tuesday morning, the 29th day of Harvey Weinstein’s New York criminal trial, the 12 men and women of the jury formally began deliberations to decide his fate.
Prior to the beginning of the deliberation process, Weinstein’s defense team motioned for one juror, a white female, to be removed from the case and replaced with an alternate juror because she read a book about child abuse. (The juror is an author who is currently working on a book.)
“The people strenuously object,” lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said in response. “She has done nothing wrong. We never instructed this jury that they not be allowed to read books.”
After the juror was brought before the court, Judge James Burke denied the defense’s motion and ruled that she remain on the panel.
He then brought in the jury and gave his instructions for deliberating on the case. “You and you alone are the judges of the fact and you and you alone are responsible for deciding whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty,” the judge told the jurors. “You should apply the same common sense in the jury room that you are called on to provide throughout the rest of your lives.”
The judge encouraged them to “discuss the evidence, consult with one another” and “reason together respectfully.”
“Each of you must decide the case yourself,” he said. “You should not surrender an honest view of the evidence simply because you want the trial to end or are outvoted.”
The judge reminded the panel that the burden of proof — beyond a reasonable doubt — is on the prosecution, not the defense. “If the people satisfy their burden of proof, you must find the defendant guilty,” he said.And, he clarified for the jury how they may consider the testimony of the three “prior bad acts” witnesses, Dawn Dunning, Lauren Young and Tarale Wulff.
The judge denied the prosecution’s request to remand Weinstein into custody, but ordered the defense to cease giving interviews while the trial is in session. “I would caution you about the tentacles of your public relations juggernaut,” the judge told Weinstein’s team.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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