The Defence Rested Their Case Without Testimony From Harvey Weinstein

The defence rested their case without testimony from Harvey Weinstein on Tuesday 11 February.

That was after the court heard from the defence’s last witness, Thomas Richards. Richards was the former Hollywood agent at the time for the anonymous victim who testified that Harvey Weinstein raped her in a New York hotel room in March 2013.

Richards said he invited the victim to New York in 2013 to see a Broadway show; they stayed at the midtown DoubleTree hotel, where he met her in the lobby in the morning and they had breakfast together. The victim, he said, pulled him aside and told him she wanted to stay and extra night.

The victim testified that Weinstein had raped her that morning.

However, Richards today said that he could not remember anything off about the victim’s demeanour, she seemed “normal” and did not seem distressed at breakfast together. He told the court that the dynamic between the victim and Weinstein seemed “friendly.”

On cross examination from Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, Richards acknowledged he got a “little” tipsy at a bar the night before. When asked if he had fallen out with the victim, he denied it.

After this witness, there was a long recess. Weinstein and his team of lawyers disappeared into the witness room. When they returned Judge Burke asked what they wanted to do next and Damon Cheronis replied that Weinstein was not going to testify and that the defence rest their case.

What happens next?

Tomorrow the court is not in session. Closing arguments will begin Thursday, the defence will go first, followed by the prosecution on Friday. Monday is a holiday.

Judge Burke instructed the jury that he will give them further instruction on Tuesday and then it will be up to them to deliberate.

My Two Cents: In criminal trials, a defendant is not required to testify and to defend himself or herself.

During jury selection Arthur Aidala asked potential jurors whether they would hold it against Weinstein if he did not testify.

It is the prosecution who has the sole burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Have they done that in this case?

Well, it’s certainly the first time that the #MeToo movement has been discussed and explained, rape myths have been highlighted and deconstructed and the dynamics of trauma have been unpicked at the start of a trial by an expert, other than in the Bill Cosby case.

Prior bad act witnesses were used in the Bill Cosby retrial.

Bill Cosby didn’t testify either.

Bill Cosby was found guilty.

You can draw your own conclusion. I’m going to wait for the closing statements.

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