Harvey Weinstein will not testify in his rape trial in New York City, his defense team said on Tuesday. The announcement came as Weinstein’s lawyers rested their case after putting on four days of testimony.
After consulting with Weinstein on Tuesday morning, attorney Damon Cheronis informed the court of his decision.
“The state hasn’t met their burden and he’s not going to testify,” Cheronis said.
The last witness to take the stand was Tommy Lozano, a friend of Jessica Mann, the primary accuser in the case. Lozano told jurors on Tuesday that Mann seemed “normal” on the morning after she claims Weinstein raped her at the DoubleTree Hotel in New York in March 2013.
Lozano said he had breakfast with Mann and Weinstein at the hotel cafe. Under questioning from defense attorney Arthur Aidala, Lozano said that Mann seemed like “her everyday self.” He said that Mann and Weinstein engaged in “friendly” small talk, and she did not appear to be in distress.
Mann has alleged that Weinstein had showed up unannounced to the hotel the night before, and had commanded her to come up to his room. She said she wanted to get away, but that Weinstein blocked the door, and then ordered her to undress. She testified that she felt compelled to obey him, and that he raped her. Weinstein is facing two counts of rape and one count of predatory sexual assault in connection with Mann’s claims.
On Monday, the defense called another friend of Mann’s, actress Talita Maia. Maia testified that Mann, who was her roommate at the time, never told her that Weinstein had assaulted her. She also testified that Mann said she considered Weinstein to be her “spiritual soulmate.” Mann had testified that she did not confide in her friends about the abuse because it was her deepest secret.
Weinstein also faces a charge of predatory sexual assault and criminal sex acts in connection with the testimony of Miriam Haley, a former production assistant on “Project Runway,” who alleges that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in at his apartment in 2006. If convicted on all counts, Weinstein faces life in prison.
On Friday, the defense called a psychologist who testified about how memory can be “contaminated” over time.
Justice James Burke denied the defense’s repeated motions to call NYPD Det. Nicholas DiGaudio, who was removed as the lead investigator on the case after allegedly withholding information from prosecutors. The defense has also made several motions for a mistrial, arguing that various errors have prejudiced the jury against Weinstein, each of which has been denied.
Closing arguments from both sides are expected to begin on Thursday. The jury is slated to begin deliberation next Tuesday, following the Presidents Day holiday.
Douglas Wigdor, an attorney who is pursuing civil claims against Weinstein on behalf of three women, said in a statement Tuesday that he looked forward to taking Weinstein’s deposition.
“Weinstein may be able to avoid testifying in the criminal trial, but he will not be afforded that right in his civil trials,” Wigdor said. “I relish the day when I get to cross-examine him and ask him to answer for the wrongs he has committed against so many women.”
On his way out of the courthouse, Weinstein was asked by reporters if he was actually considering testifying. “I was,” Weinstein responded.
Gene Maddaus contributed to this report.