Jurors deliberating in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial have indicated they are deadlocked on the most serious charges but the judge has told them to keep trying.
In a note sent to the judge during their lunch break, jurors asked if it were permissible for them to be hung on two counts of predatory sexual assault while reaching a unanimous verdict on other charges.
After consulting with prosecutors and Weinstein’s lawyers, Judge James Burke told the jury of seven men and five women to keep working towards a unanimous verdict on all charges and sent them back to continue deliberating.
Weinstein’s lawyers said they would accept a partial verdict but prosecutors said “no” and Judge Burke refused to allow it.
He sent jurors back to deliberate for a few more minutes before letting them go home for the weekend. They will resume on Monday morning.
The jury, in its fourth day of deliberations, was particularly focused on the key aspect of two counts of predatory sexual assault – Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra’s allegations that Weinstein raped her in the mid-1990s.
Those charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.
In all, Weinstein, 67, is charged with five counts stemming from the allegations of Sciorra and two other women — an aspiring actress who says he raped her in March 2013 and a former film and TV production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, who says he sexually assaulted her in March 2006.
To convict Weinstein of a predatory sexual assault charge, jurors must agree on two things – that Weinstein raped or sexually assaulted Sciorra and that he committed one of the other charged offences.
The predatory sexual assault charge requires prosecutors to show that a defendant committed a prior rape or other sex crime, but does not have the statue of limitation constraints that would bar Sciorra’s allegations from consideration on their own.
Weinstein has maintained any sexual encounters were consensual.