A juror who served on the Harvey Weinstein trial says the conviction of the former movie mogul was based solely on the crimes on which he was charged in the courtroom — not on the #MeToo movement.
“There is no message,” the juror said. “We were there to do a job, to make a decision, based on the information that was presented to us, and we have absolutely no stance or voice or opinion, as to any type of larger movement.”
The juror spoke to Gayle King on “CBS This Morning” about how the jury reached its decision to convict Weinstein of two felony charges. He asked the network not to use his last name, and was referred to by his first name only, Drew, during the interview.
Drew, Juror #9, was part of the 12-person jury, comprised of five women and seven men, for the course of the seven-week trial in New York City Criminal Court.
The jury found Weinstein guilty of two charges — a criminal sex act in the first-degree and rape in the third-degree — and acquitted him of three charges. The charges on which Weinstein was convicted were based on a 2006 assault of Miriam Haley in his New York City apartment, and a 2013 rape of Jessica Mann in a New York City hotel room.
During the trial, Weinstein’s legal team regularly said their client was the face of a movement, and pleaded to the jury not to convict him unfairly because of the #MeToo climate. During closing arguments, Weinstein’s lead attorney Donna Rotunno urged the jury to use their “New York City common sense,” and to consider that the women testifying against Weinstein were using him for their own personal and professional gain and were embarrassed about their sexual involvement with him.
On “CBS This Morning,” the juror said the 12 people did not discuss the impact their verdict could have on society. He said the #MeToo movement had “zero” impact on their decision, which they took very seriously.
He explained the jury’s decision-making process, as to convict Weinstein of rape in the third-degree of Mann, but not in the first-degree. (Rape in the third-degree is the “no means no” offense, while rape in the first-degree requires forcible compulsion to be proven for a conviction.)
“It wasn’t rape in the first-degree. There was no physical compulsion with the threat of bodily harm or threat,” the juror explains. “But there was no consent given, despite a lack of physical resistance. And a reasonable person should have known there was no consent given in that instance.”
Mann’s testimony was highly emotional, and painted a picture of a complex, and sometimes consensual, relationship with Weinstein over the course of five years. Mann, a hairdresser and aspiring actress, was on the stand for three grueling days, and had to be removed from the courtroom numerous times because she was crying uncontrollably. She explained her relationship with Weinstein as a “dynamic” that she said was “abusive,” and she felt like she had to “obey” him, given the unbalanced power dynamic. She said Weinstein urinated on her, tried to film them having sex and needed to inject medication into his penis to get an erection.
Weinstein’s defense told the jury not to make their decision based on emotion and to focus on the facts.
“On a personal level, it affected me very deeply, but that’s not what we were there to do. We were there to do a job and to interpret the law and make a decision, based on evidence and testimony,” Drew said, adding that the consensual moments of Mann’s relationship with Weinstein were a big point of discussion during the early parts of deliberation, which lasted five days. The charge on which Weinstein was convicted for rape in the third-degree was a specific incident on March 18, 2013. The prosecution urged the jury to make their determination based solely on that one incident.
“It’s an alleged incident — not this whole canvas of a relationship,” Drew said. “Husbands can rape their wives, and it’s a complicated issue, for sure, but it was our contention that it’s one incident.”
The jury found Weinstein not guilty of the most serious charges, which could have put him behind bars for life. Weinstein was facing two counts of predatory sexual assault, and the prosecution brought on actress Annabella Sciorra and three additional “prior bad acts” witnesses to prove Weinstein’s pattern of sexual predatory behavior.
Drew said the jury found Sciorra’s testimony “compelling,” but indicated the length of time from her allegations of the early 90’s to the trial in 2020 could have factored into the jury’s decision to find Weinstein not guilty of predatory sexual assault.
“These are serious accusations and that’s a very high burden that the prosecution took upon themselves in bringing these charges,” he said. “It’s 27 years ago, and in this country, you and I — and even Harvey Weinstein — are innocent until proven beyond a reasonable doubt of the opposite.”
The juror said both the prosecution and the defense put on very strong cases, but King noted that the jury did not understand why the D.A.’s office showed nude photos of Weinstein.
Drew said he would have liked for Weinstein to testify, but Weinstein not taking the stand did not impact the jury’s collective decision-making.
The Friday before the jury’s Monday verdict rolled in, the jury sent the judge a note asking for instructions if they are hung on certain charges, but unanimous on others. Headlines quickly blasted across the world that the jury appeared to find Weinstein not guilty of some charges, but was deadlocked on others. Drew said media’s interpretation of the jury’s note was incorrect, and he feels badly about that.
“I’ll tell you, I’m sick about it because he’s a human being and he’s going home that night and knowing that he’s walking into court Monday morning and potentially not leaving,” the juror said. “Regardless of what any other human does to any other human, for me to affect another person like that, really took a toll on me.”
Drew is the second juror to speak up, following a woman, who also asked to appear without her name, on “Inside Edition.”
“Tensions were very high. Everyone was nervous,” the anonymous juror told “Inside Edition” of the deliberations. “Every last woman that took the stand, I wish them the best. I hope this is now a chapter that they can close and move forward with their lives now.”
Jurors from the Weinstein trial have been slow to speak up to the media, following their verdict at the beginning of this week. When Variety contacted jurors, one man hung up the phone immediately, signaling some jurors’ desire to keep their privacy. Another turned down our request when they were informed Variety does not pay for interviews. “If this isn’t a compensated interview, I would have to decline,” the juror said.
Weinstein’s sentencing is set for March 11, and he faces up to 29 years in prison.
Watch Drew’s full interview with “CBS This Morning” here: