The foreman of the jury that convicted Harvey Weinstein told CNN a 23-year prison sentence for the disgraced movie mogul was fine by him.
“A crime had to be paid for,” Bernard Cody told CNN’s Jean Casarez on Thursday in his first sit-down interview.
“I thought that the judge would maybe say, like, 15, but him giving him 23 was fine with me,” he said.
A New York State Supreme Court judge sentenced Weinstein to 23 years in prison Wednesday after the jury found Weinstein guilty on one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. He was acquitted of two more serious charges of predatory sexual assault that carried a maximum life sentence.
“When I read the verdict I didn’t look at him, because I was sitting there saying, ‘OK, I’m about to change this man’s life,’ and I didn’t want to see any reaction,” Cody said.
The jury was deadlocked 9-3 after four days of deliberating, Cody told CNN.
The three holdouts going into Friday were two women and one man, according to the foreman. Just one woman held out going into the weekend and eventually changed her mind, but not because the other jurors pressured her, Cody said.
What the defense could have done
It might have helped Weinstein to pay more attention to the witnesses on the stand during the trial, the jury foreman said.
“Looking at him, I think he knew what he did … but I think at the time he probably figured, ‘I’m going to get off because of who I am,’” Cody said.
“Even when the witnesses were talking, he was, like, in and out, not paying attention to what they were saying. … I don’t know if he was just blocking it out because he remembered what happened,” Cody said.
The jury wanted to hear from more defense witnesses, the foreman told CNN.
And the ones they did call didn’t help the defense’s case, he said. Weinstein’s longtime friend Paul Feldsher especially didn’t go over well with the jury, Cody said.
“To us, he made it worse. That’s how we really decided on the verdict, kind of more on his testimony,” Cody said.
In open court, Feldsher said it was his understanding that “Harvey had a sex addiction and that he dated a lot of women.”
Jurors also wanted to hear Weinstein defend his innocence, according to Cody.
Weinstein said during his sentencing Wednesday that he wanted to testify, but his attorneys advised him against it.
“If you’re on trial for your life, no matter what the circumstance is, if you believe in your heart that you didn’t do it then just go on the witness stand and try to prove your case that you didn’t do it,” Cody said.
“‘Cause then we could’ve really said OK, well maybe it was consensual, and because we’re listening to him. You know what I mean? But it didn’t happen that way,” Cody said.
Female jurors emotional over victims’ testimony
Jurors were affected by the testimony they heard from the alleged victims, which was at times graphic and emotional.
“It did get emotional when some of the women had breakdowns, like crying,” Cody said of the deliberations.
“They got kind of emotional thinking about what he did to the women.”
Juror 11 was “helpful” to the jury, explaining to them how she’d put herself in the position of the alleged victims and understood why they might return to their alleged attacker, according to Cody.
And she was firm on her votes for each count from the beginning of deliberations, he said. The defense moved multiple times throughout the trial to have juror 11 dismissed from the jury, arguing that a novel she’s writing about predatory older men and younger women made her biased.
Cody said, however, that the jury didn’t even know she wrote a book.
A jury of friendly strangers
Weinstein’s 12-member jury and three alternates listened to testimony and deliberated together for five weeks.
The group was reserved with each other at first, Cody said, but he broke the ice, bringing snacks for the other jurors.
They’d pass candy to each other in the jury box while listening to testimony, Cody said.
Eventually all the jurors took turns bringing in food for each other.
“We got along pretty well even through the deliberation,” he said.
“We really didn’t try to influence nobody to go either way. We kind of stepped back and let the person make their own decision,” Cody said.
Giving advice to the future jury that will hear Weinstein’s case in Los Angeles, he said, “Just stick with the evidence, look at the evidence very closely. Look at the witnesses and look at him.”
Weinstein also faces felony charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint in Los Angeles.
Weinstein has repeatedly denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.