Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth
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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Harvey Weinstein's 2nd Trial Is Coming to an End After Weeks of Grueling Testimony

Over the last six weeks, the Los Angeles courtroom has heard accounts from four Jane Does which, unfortunately, included more disfigured genitalia discourse.

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Photo: Etienne Laurent-Pool (Getty Images)

On Wednesday, closing arguments in Harvey Weinstein’s second sex abuse trial are set to begin. The disgraced producer faces two counts of forcible rape and five counts of sexual assault involving four women—a model, a dancer, a massage therapist, and a producer who’ve all been identified in the Los Angeles courtroom as Jane Doe 1, 2, 3, and 4. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Over the course of the six-week proceedings, the jury has heard from 50 witnesses, in addition to the four accusers and four other women who’ve alleged similar assaults perpetrated by Weinstein. Testimony, as one even slightly familiar with his crimes would predict, has not only repeatedly proven difficult to stomach, but crystallized many of Weinstein’s predatory patterns—ranging from inviting and entrapping women in hotel rooms under the guise of professional meetings, to violently assaulting and masturbating in front of them.

At the start of the trial Jane Doe 1, who was working as a model and actor when she briefly met Weinstein in Rome, told the court he showed up unexpectedly at her hotel room door and forced his way in. She then alleged that, despite her repeated pleas that he leave her room, Weinstein lingered, removed his jacket, and asked for a massage. In what she described as another desperate attempt to get Weinstein to leave her room, she began showing him pictures of her three children on her phone, reminding him that she’s a mother. Instead, she said that he became even more physical and attempted to take off her robe. He also opened his pants and began touching himself. “I was panicking and started crying…He didn’t care,” she told the court. Ultimately, he forced her to perform oral sex and later, violently raped her in the bathroom.

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Jane Doe 2, a dancer on the Weinstein-backed Dirty Dancing sequel, then testified that he invited her for a meeting about potential projects at a hotel—a meeting that, she recalled, she only attended because his assistant promised to be present the entire time. Of course, that was not the case, and once she was inside his room, she alleged that Weinstein forced her onto the bed, straddled her, and masturbated on her face while she pleaded with him to stop. Jane Doe 3, a massage therapist for high-profile individuals, alleged that Weinstein cornered her in a hotel bathroom and masturbated in front of her, forcing her to tell him how “big” his “cock” was. “I was terrified,” she told the jury. “I thought I was about to get raped.”

Weinstein’s defense has countered all claims, specifically by deploying predictable and tired tactics like slut-shaming, victim-blaming, and the like. Perhaps the most egregious example arrived during Jane Doe 4's testimony during the fourth week of the trial. Doe 4, who has been publicly identified as a documentary filmmaker and the First Lady of California, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, underwent two days of testimony and relentless—bordering on cruel—cross-examination that culminated in Weinstein’s defense attorney, Mark Werksman, prompting her to detail and demonstrate the orgasm she faked to escape his client during his alleged assault. “This is not When Harry Met Sally. I’m not doing that,” Siebel Newsom told Werksman.

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Unfortunately, that was just one of several contentious exchanges between Siebel Newsom and Werksman. During another, Werkman questioned her as to why her husband, Gov. Gavin Newsom, accepted donations from a man she alleged had raped her. “He didn’t know it was bad money until the whole world knew about the #MeToo movement in Oct. 2017?” Werksman prompted. “Is that just politics? That you just take money from someone who has done something despicable to your wife, unless everybody finds out about it?” Additionally, all of the women who’ve alleged Weinstein assaulted them have been forced to describe his “disfigured genitalia” ad nauseam.

Midway through the trial—as Siebel Newsom testified—four of the original 11 charges against him that stemmed from an assault alleged by a fifth Jane Doe were dropped without explanation. More than 90 women in total have alleged Weinstein abused his status as an industry kingpin to harass, abuse, or assault them, while scores of people in his company—namely, assistants and peers—enabled and empowered him to get away with it for years on end.

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As in his New York trial, Weinstein has opted not to testify on his own behalf. Currently, Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence after having been convicted of a criminal sex act and third-degree rape in 2020. He has since been granted an appeal of that conviction. Should the Los Angeles jury find him guilty of the standing charges, Weinstein would spend an additional 60 years to life in prison.