A lawyer for Harvey Weinstein told a Los Angeles judge Wednesday that allowing Daryl Hannah to testify in the fallen producer’s upcoming rape trial would be the same as telling a jury that he had attempted “to rape America’s sweetheart—the mermaid from Splash.”
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench didn’t necessarily agree, but she did exclude outspoken Weinstein accusers Daryl Hannah and Rose McGowan from testifying in the convicted former Miramax chief’s trial on 11 counts of rape and sexual assault pertaining to five alleged victims, Variety reports.
L.A. prosecutors wanted to call an additional 15 witnesses to testify to “prior bad acts” by Weinstein—who is appealing his 2020 conviction in New York for a first-degree criminal sexual act against production assistant Miriam Haley in 2006 and third-degree rape of aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013, for which he was sentenced to 23 years.
Lench is allowing five of the prosecution’s requested witnesses to testify. The jury will also be allowed to hear about Weinstein’s New York convictions, though Haley will not testify.
“The jury will be tempted to want to punish him for all the things they heard, whether they’re charged or not,” Weinstein attorney Mark Werksman argued.
Lead prosecutor Paul Thompson countered, “There is one person in this courtroom who is responsible for that. That is Mr. Weinstein’s responsibility. Mr. Weinstein is the one who committed all of these offenses against so many women over so many years.”
Although the District Attorney’s potential witnesses were mentioned by first name only, some were readily identifiable, according to Variety.
Noting that prosecutors wanted to call a “Daryl,” Werksman said, “The prosecution intends to introduce her testimony with the inflammatory purpose of trying to suggest that this man is so despicable, he would attempt to rape America’s sweetheart—the mermaid from Splash.”
Hannah has alleged that Weinstein twice pounded on her hotel room door, and that once she was forced to escape out the back.
Werksman argued that Weinstein wasn’t accused of a crime in that incident and that Hannah would function as “window-dressing—so the jury will hate Mr. Weinstein a little more than they already hate him.”
Werksman also stated that the D.A. wanted to call a witness named “Rose” to testify that Weinstein had forcibly performed oral sex on her in a hotel hot tub, an incident which Thompson said took place in 1997.
McGowan, one of Weinstein’s earliest and most vocal accusers, alleges that Weinstein attacked her at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997.
Before the hearing ended, Lench scheduled the trial to begin about 90 days after June 10. As the New York Post reports, when the judge asked Weinstein if he agreed, he appeared stunned and replied, “Yes, I’m just thinking of all of these new witnesses.”
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