Tuesday, a jury of seven men and five women will receive their instructions from Judge James Burke and head into deliberations with the goal of reaching a verdict in the Harvey Weinstein sex crimes trial, which began in New York on Jan. 6.
Closing summations in the case – the first and so far only case put before a criminal jury in the #MeToo era – came at the end of last week after about three days of testimony by witnesses called by Weinstein’s defense and about 11 days of testimony by witnesses called by prosecutors.
The trial will not be in session Monday, which is Presidents Day. Judge Burke expects to spend an hour Tuesday giving jurors their instructions, after which they will get the case.
Whether for conviction or acquittal, a verdict must be unanimous. If the jury cannot agree on a verdict, the judge will probably declare a mistrial.
Here’s what you need to know before the conclusion of the headline-making trial:
What are the charges against Harvey Weinstein?
Weinstein, 67, was charged with five sex crimes involving two women: Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi, 42, who said Weinstein forced oral sex on her at his downtown apartment in 2006, and Jessica Mann, 34, who said he raped her in a midtown hotel room in 2013.
Weinstein pleaded not guilty to all the charges. He denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
Who are the accusers who testified?
Mann and Haleyi plus four others – Annabella Sciorra, 59; Dawn Dunning, 40; Tarale Wulff, 43; and Lauren Young, 30 – testified as accusers. Weinstein is charged in only Mann’s and Haleyi’s cases because the other allegations are either too old to prosecute or occurred outside New York.
How long has the trial been going on?
The trial started Jan. 6 and, aside from three planned days off, the jury and legal teams, along with Weinstein, have been in court every day since. USA TODAY entertainment reporter Patrick Ryan has been there throughout, and you can read about his experience here.
Weinstein has not said much in court and opted not to testify, as is his right. He’s taken notes, whispered with his legal team, shook his head – and he even appeared to nod off.
Harvey Weinstein’s sex crimes trial:Your questions answered
What did the defense say during closing arguments?
Thursday, defense attorney Donna Rotunno reminded jurors that they promised when they were selected to make the “right” decision even if it isn’t the most popular, alluding to the public demonstrations and statements issued by accusers and activists against Weinstein outside the courthouse before and during the trial.
“The district attorneys have failed to make their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and on behalf of Mr. Weinstein, we are imploring you to have the courage to tell them that by saying ‘not guilty’ on all counts,” Rotunno said.
“I’m going to ask that you use your New York City common sense,” she said. “Every time you feel emotion taking over, let common sense guide you.”
She said prosecutors created an “alternative universe” in which Weinstein was depicted as an overweight “monster.” Pictures of Weinstein naked were shown to the jury, but not the media and public.
How did prosecutors conclude their case?
“Based on the evidence presented in this case, we ask you to find Harvey Weinstein guilty of all charges,” said Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi, wrapping up her summation Friday after about three hours.
She said Weinstein sees himself as “the master of his universe, and the witnesses here were really ants who he could step on without consequences.”
She launched into a recap of the testimony of the six Weinstein accusers, telling the jury, “We asked you to really listen to these witnesses.”
Referring to the scores of friendly emails exchanged between Weinstein and some of his accusers, Illuzzi sought to dispel the defense argument that these indicate romantic, consensual relationships with Weinstein.
“Is that how you communicate with your lover – by email? Where are the gifts? Where is the jewelry? Where’s the vacation? Where’s the car? They don’t exist, because to Harvey Weinstein, these women are just rag dolls,” Illuzzi declared.
What’s next for Weinstein?
He faces multiple civil suits from dozens of accusers. A proposed settlement in the civil cases is on hold and at least some of the plaintiffs have rejected it as not good enough in terms of either money or punishment.
On Jan. 6, the day the New York trial opened, prosecutors in Los Angeles County charged him with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over two days in 2013.
He was charged with four sex crimes, including one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.
The Los Angeles case has been on hold – Weinstein has not been arraigned – until the New York case is resolved.
If Weinstein is found guilty, what will his sentence be?
The answer is complex, given that Weinstein faces five charges and could be convicted of all charges, acquitted of all charges or found guilty of some and not guilty of others. The maximum sentence for Weinstein if he is convicted on all the charges is a life sentence.
What do #MeToo activists have to say about the trial?
A group of about two dozen accusers, including actresses Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette, who call themselves “the silence breakers,” issued a statement to USA TODAY at the start of the trial saying it is another “critical” step in the “public and professional reckoning” Weinstein faces.
The trial is not just about Weinstein, it’s about changing the power imbalances that allowed sexual misconduct to flourish for so long, said Tina Tchen, president and CEO of the #MeToo-inspired Time’s Up Foundation.
“We hope that (sexual misconduct) survivors experience some small measure of justice as this trial begins, which is an important step forward in a complex process of holding perpetrators accountable,” Tchen said in a statement to USA TODAY. “Sadly, most cases never even make it this far.”