Prosecutors began their closing arguments Wednesday in the Los Angeles sexual assault trial against former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who 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.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez called Weinstein a “titan” who “rubbed elbows with famous actors and actresses” and used that power to prey on and silence women.
“He used that power to live his life without the repercussions of his predatory behavior,” Martinez told the jurors.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to the seven charges against him.
Jurors have followed the marathon testimony, hearing from approximately 50 witnesses, including four accusers, identified in court as Jane Does due to the nature of the allegations.
Additionally, four other women testified that similar incidents also occurred to them at Weinstein’s hands. Those alleged incidents are not being charged as part of this case because they happened outside of Los Angeles County.
“The defense has said that you cannot trust these victims,” Martinez said in her closing arguments. “That they are lying. But what they are really telling you is that you cannot trust your own ears. Because what you heard with your own ears was who, and what, Harvey Weinstein is.”
Weinstein’s defense has argued the witnesses either fabricated their stories or had consensual sexual relationships with Weinstein, and said there is no forensic evidence to support any of the allegations.
Midway through the trial, four of the original 11 charges against Weinstein tied to a fifth Jane Doe were dropped without explanation.
During a 2020 trial in New York, Weinstein was convicted of a criminal sex act and third-degree rape and is currently serving a 23-year sentence for those crimes. Should the Los Angeles jury – comprised of four women and eight men – find him guilty as charged, Weinstein would face 60 years to life in prison, plus an additional five years.
The Los Angeles trial’s often emotional testimony has spanned four weeks, not including a break for Thanksgiving, and has been intermittently punctuated by vitriolic exchanges between witnesses and attorneys.
Some of the more heated exchanges came during the cross examination of accuser Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a producer, actress and the wife of California’s governor, who testified that she was raped by Weinstein in 2005. Siebel Newsom described an hours-long “cat-and-mouse period” that preceded her alleged assault.
“What you’re doing today is exactly what he did to me,” Siebel Newsom said, accusing defense lawyer Mark Werksman of “mental jujitsu” and verbal manipulation.
Attorneys for Weinstein don’t deny the incident occurred, but say he believed it was consensual.
Martinez also referenced Siebel Newsom in her closing remarks, saying that the reason she continued to have contact with Weinstein after the alleged assault was because of his position in the industry.
“Getting on the defendant’s bad side? That would guarantee your career is over,” Martinez said. “These women had so many dreams that they were not going to let this monster destroy them.”
Martinez is expected to resume closing arguments Thursday morning.