“In 2005, who would have thought that the most powerful man in Hollywood was a closet rapist?” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez asked jurors Wednesday in Harvey Weinstein’s West Coast rape trial. “Who could blame her for thinking that she could handle herself,” the prosecutor queried over now-California First Partner and trial Jane Doe #4 Jennifer Siebel Newsom in her closing argument.
In the first portion of a closing argument that will continue Thursday, Martinez zeroed in on the much accused former mogul’s powerful perch. She also made sure to repeatedly state Weinstein’s vile modus operandi and attempts by the defense to discredit “bimbo” Siebel Newsom and other Jane Does who have taken the stand over the past five weeks in the high-profile case.
With Weinstein seated nearby in the downtown courtroom, the prosecutor referred to the Oscar-winning producer a “degenerate rapist” who “used that power to prey on women, to silence women.” Martinez told the jurors that the wealthy and well-connected Weinstein “used that power to live his life without the repercussions of his predatory behavior. There is no question that Harvey Weinstein was a predator.”
Hoping to undercut the defense’s stance that Siebel Newsom and others continued to have contact with Weinstein after the alleged assaults, Martinez bluntly added: “Getting on the defendant’s bad side? That would guarantee your career is over. These women had so many dreams that they were not going to let this monster destroy them.”
Siebel Newsom testified in mid-November about first meeting Weinstein at the Toronto Film Festival and later at Beverly Hills’ Peninsula Hotel more than 17 years ago, when he allegedly raped her. The then young and unmarried filmmaker-actress told the court that “I could tell he just needed, he was so determined, just so scary, just all about him and his pleasure, his need for satisfaction, so I just did it to make it stop.”
After the charges were trimmed earlier this month, Weinstein is facing grand jury indictments of two counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault in incidents in L.A. County over a nine-year period starting in 2004.
Having pleaded not guilty on all of the original 11 sexual assault charges brought by Los Angeles prosecutors soon after he was extradited to the City of Angels in the summer of 2021, the 70-year-old Weinstein faces a maximum prison sentence of 60 years to life plus five if found guilty here. Weinstein was previously sentenced to 23 years in prison by a Manhattan jury in March 2020 for multiple sex crimes. That case is now on appeal.
“The defense has said that you cannot trust these victims, that they are lying,” Martinez forcefully said today to a courtroom that included Judge Lisa Lench, Weinstein’s Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP team, and the jury. “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,” she went on to emphasis of the eight women who took the stand in the trial.
Going through the alleged victims and their respective testimony, the seasoned prosecutor literally held up a photo of a bear trap to illustrate the manner in which Weinstein captured his prey in his violent pursuits. Spotlighting that the producer would set professional meetings with women and then suddenly move the venue from a public space to his hotel suite, Martinez stated: “The rules do not apply to him. A woman’s desperate pleas to stop? That’s a green light for Harvey.”
“Harvey was one-track minded,” the Deputy DA said. “He already knew what he was doing. It was just one more step into the execution of his plan.”
The prosecution’s closing argument is expected to wrap up tomorrow, with the Mark Werksman-led defense making their final pitch next. Lench has estimated that the jury could begin their closed-door deliberations by Friday afternoon.
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