NEW YORK (Reuters) – Lawyers for Harvey Weinstein are expected to call the former agent of accuser Jessica Mann to testify on Tuesday in the ex-producer’s rape case as the weeks-long trial nears a close.
FILE PHOTO: Film producer Harvey Weinstein leaves Criminal Court during his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to raping Mann and to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi.
Mann accused Weinstein of raping her in a Manhattan hotel in 2013. She previously testified that the rape occurred in the course of an “extremely degrading” relationship with Weinstein that lasted for years.
Thomas Richards, a former friend and agent of Mann, a onetime aspiring actress, is expected to take the stand on Tuesday.
On Monday, Mann’s former friend Talita Maia, a Brazilian-born actress, testified that Mann did not show any distress after the alleged attack. Mann has said Richards was also with her in New York at the time.
Other defense witnesses could include Denise Doyle, a former Weinstein employee, and Kevin Wilson, a former Manhattan prosecutor who previously worked on the case.
The trial is a key moment in the #MeToo movement in which women have accused powerful men in business, entertainment, media and politics of sexual misconduct.
Since 2017, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
The former producer, who was behind films including “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love,” has denied any nonconsensual sex.
Weinstein faces life in prison if convicted of predatory sexual assault, the most serious charge against him.
Prosecutors rested their case on Thursday after jurors heard testimony from six women accusing Weinstein of sexual assault, including Mann, Haleyi and actress Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein raped her in her home in the early 1990s.
Weinstein’s lawyers have sought to undercut the women’s’ testimony by highlighting friendly communications the accusers had with Weinstein after the alleged assaults.
They began their case on Friday by calling Paul Feldsher, a onetime friend of Sciorra who said she told him about a sexual encounter with Weinstein but did not say it was rape.
On Friday, jurors heard from Elizabeth Loftus, a professor at the University of California, Irvine and well-known expert on memory who testified that memories could be distorted over time.
The jury is likely to begin considering a verdict next week.
Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Cynthia Osterman