- Harvey Weinstein was re-positioned in a Los Angeles courtroom during his trial on rape charges.
- For the first 2 days of the trial, he was directly facing jurors, until a sheriff’s deputy noticed.
- Weinstein’s lawyers have focused on his appearance leading up to and during the trial.
Harvey Weinstein was wheeled to a different section of a Los Angeles courtroom during his trial on criminal rape charges after locking eyes directly with jurors for two days running.
The disgraced media mogul pleaded not guilty to 11 sexual assault counts in a Los Angeles court on July 21, 2021, and his current trial deals with allegations from five women, which he has denied.
During Thursday’s testimony, Weinstein was seated next to his attorneys after county officials noticed he was facing the jury — which is not permitted, per a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department policy, according to the Wrap. The department did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Earlier in the week, Weinstein angled in a way that his wheelchair was facing jurors, according to pool reports from the trial. On Wednesday, he was repositioned after an L.A. County sheriff’s department deputy noticed that Weinstein was improperly seated. Judge Lisa Lench allowed his lawyers to move him next to their bench in his wheelchair.
According to the Wrap, Weinstein’s legal team asked that he stay, citing the difficulty with moving his wheelchair and a lack of space at the defense bench.
The seating snafu follows a string of efforts by his defense to portray a certain image to the jury.
Before the trial, Weinstein’s lawyers had said that their client’s health was declining in a county jail. Last year, Weinstein’s lawyers requested for him to undergo eye surgery and dental surgery, and during jury selection, his legal team said they were worried about him dropping dead.
In opening arguments, Weinstein’s attorneys asked jurors to think about his physical appearance as they claimed that sex in Hollywood was a “commodity,” and for Weinstein, consensual.
“You’ll learn that in Hollywood, sex was a commodity,” Weinstein attorney Mark Werksman said on Monday. “It was the casting couch. Everyone did it. He did it. They did it. Because each wanted something from another.”
In a brazen moment, Werksman urged jurors to take stock of Weinstein to prove a point about Weinstein providing access in Hollywood.
“Now look at him. He’s not Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Do you think those beautiful women had sex with him because he’s hot?” Werksman said during opening arguments on Monday. “No. They did it because he was powerful.”
By Thursday, Weinstein wore a grey suit and continued to glance at the jury and observers behind them from his team’s bench.
Prior to the trial in Los Angeles, Weinstein was serving a 23-year prison sentence in New York after a New York jury found him guilty in 2020 of third-degree rape and forcible sexual assault of two women, and could face an additional 135 years in prison if convicted in Los Angeles.
The accusers allege that the incidents in the Los Angeles case transpired at expensive Los Angeles hotels between 2004 and 2013.
Earlier this week, Jane Doe 1 claimed that she was scared Weinstein would kill her during an assault in 2013 during the Los Angeles Italia Film Festival. All five accusers — including Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom — will testify in the case, and multiple will use pseudonyms, according to the prosecution.