Weinstein jury suggests hung on predatory sexual assault counts

Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court for his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

(Reuters) – Jurors weighing rape and sexual assault charges against Harvey Weinstein continued deliberating on Friday after asking the judge presiding over the case whether they could be hung on two counts of predatory sexual assault.

Conviction on those counts could put the former movie producer behind bars for life.

The jury asked Justice James Burke if they could be unanimous on the other three counts, which include first degree rape and criminal sexual assault and could carry a prison term of up to 25 years.

Weinstein, 67, had been charged with raping Jessica Mann, a onetime aspiring actress, and sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi.

Sciorra, best known for her role in HBO’s “The Sopranos,” testified that Weinstein came to her New York apartment one winter night in 1993 or 1994, raped her and then forced oral sex on her.

That accusation is too old to be charged as a separate crime, but serves as an aggravating factor for the most serious charge in the case, predatory sexual assault.

Jurors can convict Weinstein of predatory sexual assault if they find that he committed the assault against Sciorra and at least one of the alleged crimes against Haleyi or Mann.

The seven men and five women on the jury began deliberations in the case on Tuesday.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson; Writing by Noeleen Walder; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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