A novelist who has an upcoming book about predatory older men in New York will remain on the Harvey Weinstein jury, despite vociferous objections from the defense.
Juror #11 showed up to opening statements on Wednesday, and sat through the full day of trial. Weinstein’s defense had argued last Friday that she should be removed from the panel “for cause,” saying she had lied on her questionnaire. Justice James Burke denied the request, and also shot down a defense motion for a mistrial.
More fireworks were expected on the issue on Wednesday, but Burke quickly dispatched the defense’s objections. Speaking to Variety in the courthouse, Weinstein’s attorney Arthur Aidala said, “That’s been settled. The judge has settled that.” He did not provide other details.
Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lead attorney, said last Friday that she was frustrated that the woman was allowed on the panel.
“We got the best jury we could get under the circumstances — obviously not happy with what happened in the end there,” she said. “I think that was an absolutely ridiculous decision. I think it was clear that one of the last jurors lied on her questionnaire and omitted some very important information that could be very integral to this case, so from that standpoint, I think that should have been handled different.”
The defense reviewed the website for the juror’s novel, and Rotunno said, “It’s quite different than what she testified to, so there were inconsistencies and flat-out lies.”
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The jury is comprised of seven men and five women — two white women, six white men, one black man, two black women, and one woman who is of black and Latino heritage. Three alternate jurors were selected, including a white man, a black woman and a Latino woman.
Throughout jury selection, the prosecution repeatedly accused Weinstein’s defense team of eliminating young, white women. The two white women who were ultimately selected — including Juror #11 — only made the jury after the defense had run out of peremptory challenges.
Rotunno was also asked if the defense was trying to exclude white women. “No, there was no effort,” Rotunno said. “The issue was more about what they said in their questionnaires that led us to believe that they could not be fair. It had nothing to do with race or sex, frankly, for that matter. It was about things in the questionnaire.”