John Deysher served as an alternate juror on Harvey Weinstein’s trial. He sat through six weeks of arguments and testimony in Manhattan Supreme Court. Had any of the jurors been excused, he would have been called on to deliberate.
But in the end, Deysher remained a bystander.
On Monday, the jury convicted Weinstein of first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape, but acquitted him of three other charges. Deysher and two other alternates were not in the room as the jury spent four days deliberating. Nevertheless, he said the experience left a strong impression.
“It was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever done, and one of the most intense things I’ve ever done,” Deysher told Variety in an interview on Tuesday. “It was very fulfilling. The time went quickly.”
Deysher said this was the first time he has ever served on a jury, and that he went into the process with an open mind.
“They were pretty diligent in terms of screening people out who might come in with biases, and not be able to view the facts,” he said. “I tried to do my best to do that.”
Had he been called upon to decide the case, he said he is not sure how he would have come down.
“Everybody had their own opinion going into deliberation. Part of the deliberation process is to hear other people’s ideas,” he said. “I was not part of that dynamic, so I really can’t say whether I agreed with the verdict or not.”
But he did have praise for the attorneys on both sides, and for Justice James Burke.
“I really want to give credit to the judge,” he said. “The judge is sitting there listening, and he has to be ready to respond to an objection immediately. He cannot let his attention wander.”
He also praised his fellow jurors, saying he appreciated that they were able to reach a verdict.
“It was a good experience, a good trial,” he said. “It gave me conviction that democracy does work, that justice does work.”