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Weinstein won't testify at rape trial as his defence rests its case

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Accused: Harvey Weinstein arrives for his trial. Photo: Mark Lennihan

Accused: Harvey Weinstein arrives for his trial. Photo: Mark Lennihan

AP

Accused: Harvey Weinstein arrives for his trial. Photo: Mark Lennihan

Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein will not testify in his own defence at his rape trial, his lawyers said yesterday as they rested their case.

Outside the presence of the jury, one of Weinstein's lawyers told Justice James Burke that Weinstein would not be taking the stand in the trial that began in New York on January 6 and is a milestone in the #MeToo movement.

"That's correct," Weinstein confirmed when asked by the judge.

The defence rested its case shortly after this exchange, setting the stage for closing arguments to begin tomorrow.

Asked outside the courtroom whether he had been thinking of testifying, Weinstein responded: "I wanted to."

"He didn't have to," said one of his lawyers, Damon Cheronis.

Arthur Aidala, another of his lawyers, said outside the courthouse that Weinstein had been "anxious to testify to clear his name", but that his lawyers had advised him that "he did not need to do that because the evidence presented in this case was anaemic at best".

Earlier yesterday, a former agent of accuser Jessica Mann took the stand, saying she showed no signs of distress on the morning she says she was sexually assaulted.

Weinstein (67) has pleaded not guilty to raping Ms Mann, a one-time aspiring actress, and to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi.

Ms Mann accused Weinstein of raping her in a Manhattan hotel one morning in March 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 Ms Mann, testified that he had breakfast with her and Weinstein the same day. He said the dynamic between Ms Mann and Weinstein appeared "friendly".

Mr Richards testified under a subpoena from the defence. Asked by Weinstein's lawyer Damon Cheronis whether he was testifying to help Weinstein, Mr Richards answered: "Not at all."

Under cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi, Mr Richards said he had been drinking the night before the breakfast and his memory of the next day was not clear.

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.

Irish Independent