Gigi Hadid, the 24-year-old supermodel who made headlines by appearing at New York Supreme Court this week in response to a jury summons in the Harvey Weinstein trial, has officially been dropped from the jury pool.
The move, which was expected, came Thursday as the rape trial nears the end of its second week. Jury selection has been the focus for the past several days, though opening arguments are expected to happen next week in a case that is likely to last for two months.
Weinstein, 67, faces five charges of sexual assault stemming from allegations by two women related to incidents in 2006 and 2013. He has insisted that all sexual encounters were consensual. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
After a few courtroom sessions this week in which prosecutors and defense lawyers conferred with Judge James Burke about jury questionnaires and other administrative tasks, Thursday saw the start of the “voir dire” phase. That’s when prospective jurors are questioned by the judge and attorneys in an effort to select an impartial dozen plus six alternates.
The defense team — which filed another motion Wednesday seeking a change of venue — has continued to argue against allowing the voir dire to proceed in an open courtroom, in front of the media. The D.A.’s office — and many of the media members thronging the courthouse’s 15th floor hallway each day — have objected to making the process private.
Burke denied the defense bid to sequester the prospective jurors. “The method we are using for this four-part, laborious, time-consuming jury panel is working,” he said, promising to be “attentive” to the concerns of defense lawyers.
The judge, who issued a harsh warning to Weinstein at the start of the trial last week over the defendant’s use of his mobile phone, also wagged a finger at a potential juror. Addressing a tweet the man had posted with a photo of his jury summons, Burke ordered him to return to court in March to face a contempt of court charge.