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Trial of Harvey Weinstein begins Monday

Kyle Mack | posted Friday, Jan 3rd, 2020

Harvey Weinstein, former renowned producer and once one of Hollywood’s most influential figures, is scheduled in court this coming Monday.

Faced with rape and sexual assault charges, a guilty verdict could lead to life imprisonment.

In October, Weinstein lost a bid to move the trial to suburban Long Island or to Albany, New York State’s capital after alleging that the intense media scrutiny made it impossible for jurors to give him a fair trial in Manhattan.

Jury selection begins on Tuesday in the New York State Supreme Court. Finding impartial jurors in a highly publicized case can be a challenge. Lawyers can excuse an unlimited number of potential jurors if they show bias for or against Weinstein. By using ‘“peremptory” challenges, potential jurors can be eliminated if they are believed to be unsympathetic without providing a reason. Canadian Criminal lawyer Kim Schofield stated Breakfast Television this morning that “It’s not about whether they’ve ever heard of Harvey Weinstein, its whether their views can affect their ability to judge this trial without bias, prejudice, and impartiality”.

The trial is expected to last about six to eight weeks and comes more than two years after a New York Times expose about the decades worth of sexual misconduct allegations.

Weinstein has previously pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges, one from 2006 and another in 2013. With more than 80 women (Including Hollywood superstars, Gwenyth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Lupita Nyong’o) have made allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Despite all allegations, Weinstein continues to deny having non-consensual sex with anyone.

As we shift into the next decade, this monumental trial marks a pivotal point in the #MeToo movement and can greatly affect how sexual misconduct trials are carried out in the future.

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