LOS ANGELES (AP) — An attorney for Harvey Weinstein at his Los Angeles rape and sexual assault trial told jurors Thursday that prosecutors’ case relies entirely on asking them to trust women whose testimony showed they were untrustworthy.
“Take my word for it,” Jackson told jurors in his closing argument. “Five words that sum up the entirety of the prosecution’s case.”
Everything else prosecutors presented, through a month’s testimony from 44 witnesses, “was smoke and mirrors,” Jackson said.
Jackson urged jurors to look past the drama and emotion of the testimony those four women gave, and focus on the factual evidence.
“Believe us because we’re mad, believe us because we cried,” Jackson said jurors were being asked to do. “Well fury doesn’t make fact. And tears don’t make truth.”
Jackson said the stories of two women who Weinstein allegedly sexually assaulted on back-to-back days in 2013 “simply never happened.”
Weinstein’s alleged rape and assault of the other two women in 2005 and 2010 were “100% consensual” encounters that the women engaged in for the sake of career advancement that they later became “desperate to relabel” as non-consensual, Jackson said.
“These were women with whom Harvey had transactional relationships and transactional sex,” he said.
Jackson argued that the women were perfectly willing to exchange sex for favors or status when the incidents happened in 2005 and 2010. But after the #MeToo explosion around Weinstein with stories in the New York Times and the New Yorker in 2017, they were regretful.
“They played the game. They hate it now, unequivocally,” Jackson said. “But what about then? What about before the 2017 dogpile started on Mr. Weinstein?”
He dwelled on a judge’s instruction he said was essential, that if jurors found that any significant thing a witness said was untrue, they should consider disbelieving everything the witness said.
The defense is set to finish its closing argument in the afternoon, and after the prosecutor’s rebuttal, jurors will begin deliberations.
Prosecutors completed their closing argument earlier Thursday after giving most of it Wednesday, and urged jurors to complete Weinstein’s takedown by convicting him in California.
“It is time for the defendant’s reign of terror to end,” said Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez. “It is time for the kingmaker to be brought to justice.”
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