The Weinstein Trial Highlights Impact of ‘Paid Justice’ on Silencing Women’s Voices in America

Published January 18th, 2020 - 04:45 GMT

After two weeks of searching for 12 jurors from around 700 candidates for the high-profile trial, seven men and five women were finally chosen to decide Harvey Weinstein's fate in his rape and sexual assault trial. 

The makeup of the jury is expected to factor heavily in whether Weinstein is convicted of predatory sexual assault charges that carry life in prison. 

Half of the jury will be white men and two of the five women will be white.

Activists accused the defense of striking out women jurors to support Weinstein’s case, which is considered as key to the #MeToo movement. 

Lead prosecutor Joan Illuzi-Orbon accused the defense of limiting the number of young white women, possibly in the belief they would be more sympathetic to Weinstein's accusers. 

“Lawyers on both sides can rule out up to 20 potential jurors each without needing to express a reason why,” Illuzi-Orbon said in court Friday. “They are systematically eliminating a class of people from this jury." 

During the proceedings, Weinstein lawyer Arthur Aidala objected to one woman serving by suggesting she was too young. 

"A lot of the nuances of this case have to do with the way the world worked back in the 1990s. This is a person who does not have the life experience to appreciate that," he argued. 

More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct since claims against him ignited the #MeToo movement in October 2017. But many of the alleged crimes fall outside the time frame for bringing charges.

The trial is expected to run until March 6. The jury will hear testimony from former production assistant Mimi Haleyi who says Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in his New York apartment in July 2006. 

Weinstein, aged 67, is accused of raping another woman, whose identity is has not been disclosed. Actress Annabella Sciorra is expected to testify as a supporting witness. She says Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s. 

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