Why Weinstein Jurors Delivered A Mixed Verdict
Published by Law360 (December 21, 2022, 10:27 PM EST) —
The jurors who voted to acquit Harvey Weinstein on certain charges in his Los Angeles rape trial — leading to hung verdicts on multiple counts — couldn’t understand why several accusers had contact with Weinstein after he allegedly assaulted them, several jurors said in interviews after the final verdict on
Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault charges related to a victim known as Jane Doe 1, but the jury deadlocked on counts connected to two other accusers — including Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom — and cleared the former media mogul of a sexual battery count connected to a fourth accuser.
One juror, who asked to only be identified as Jay, told reporters that jurors felt “horrible” for all the accusers and that the not guilty votes came down not to the accusers being disbelieved, but rather reasonable doubt linked to the accusers’ actions after the alleged attacks.
“Everybody seemed very believable — it’s just hard to prove all it through time and memory, and it’s their word against, you know, it’s just their word,” Jay said. “And then you look at everything else that transpired, all of the actions afterward and sometimes before, and so you just try to put it all together.”
Mark Calzaretta, founding partner of jury consulting firm Magna Legal Services, told Law360 that without physical evidence to back up a sexual assault accusation, jurors will “judge” victims. Calzaretta was not directly involved in the case but said he followed the proceedings closely.
“They’re going to judge them,” Calzaretta said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily blaming the victim, but when you have somebody who it’s their word against somebody else’s, does it fit the construct that the jurors believe is a reasonable construct and reasonable action?”
Siebel Newsom, for instance, exchanged many friendly communications with Weinstein after she claims he raped her, and some of the jurors appeared to question that behavior, Calzaretta said.
“With certain victims that testified, like … with the governor’s wife, for example, you’re talking about coming back years and years later after a lot of these alleged assaults occurred and then, you know, there’s like not a lot of physical evidence,” he said. “A lot of their behavior gets questioned now.”