LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lawyer for Harvey Weinstein in his Los Angeles rape and sexual assault trial told jurors Thursday that the prosecutors’ case rests entirely on asking them to trust women whose testimony showed they were unreliable.
“Take my word for it,” Jackson told jurors in his closing argument. “Five words that sum up the prosecution’s entire case.”
Everything else prosecutors presented, through a month of testimony from 44 witnesses, “was smoke and mirrors,” Jackson said.
Weinstein is accused of raping and sexually assaulting two women and committing sexual assaults against two others.
Jackson urged jurors to look beyond the drama and emotion of the testimony given by those four women and focus on the factual evidence.
“Believe us because we are crazy, believe us because we cried,” Jackson told jurors. “Well, fury doesn’t make the facts. And tears don’t make the truth.”
Jackson said the stories of two women Weinstein allegedly sexually assaulted on consecutive days in 2013 “just never happened.”
Weinstein’s alleged rape and assault of the other two women in 2005 and 2010 were “100% consensual” encounters in which women engaged for the sake of career advancement who later became “desperate to relabel” as non-consensual, Jackson said.
“These were women Harvey had transactional relationships and transactional sex with,” she said.
Jackson argued that women were perfectly willing to trade sex for favors or status when the incidents occurred in 2005 and 2010. But after the #MeToo explosion around Weinstein with articles in the New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017, they were sorry.
“They played the game. They hate it now, unequivocally,” Jackson said. “So what?
He dwelt on a judge’s instruction that he said was essential, that if jurors found that anything significant a witness said was false, they should consider disbelieving everything the witness said.
The defense will conclude its closing argument in the afternoon and, following the rebuttal of the charge, the jurors will begin deliberations.
Weinstein is already serving a 23-year sentence for a conviction in New York.
Prosecutors completed their closing argument Thursday, after giving most of them Wednesday, and urged jurors to complete Weinstein’s removal by sentencing him in California.
“It’s time for the defendant’s reign of terror to end,” Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez said. “It’s time for the kingmaker to be brought to justice.”
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