Friday, February 3, 2023

Harvey Weinstein’s Genitalia Becomes Key Evidence in Rape Trial

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Harvey Weinstein’s genitalia has frequently been addressed in open court throughout his trial. But in the final hours of the case, the former movie mogul’s abnormal testicles emerged as a key piece of evidence on which the jury will have to deliberate when they determine whether he is guilty of rape and sexual assault.

During the trial, prosecutors revealed to the jury that Weinstein underwent surgery in 1999 for Fournier’s Gangrene, which required doctors to remove some of his scrotum. “That surgery caused pretty noticeable scarring … Because of an infection, his testicles were actually taken from his scrotum and put into his inner thighs,” the lead prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson, told the jury at the beginning of the trial.

Numerous women accusing Weinstein of rape and sexual assault have testified about his genitalia during the lengthy trial. In October, the jury was shown photos of Weinstein’s private parts, and sifted through an envelope of images in a private room in the courthouse. Members of the public and the media were not given access to view the photos.

Now, as deliberations have begun, the verdict on three charges, all pertaining to Jane Doe #1, will largely rely on Weinstein’s genitalia. (Weinstein faces seven charges in total.)

Jane Doe #1, a European actor and model, has accused Weinstein of rape and sexual assault. She alleges the incident occurred in 2013 at Mr. C Beverly Hills Hotel, where she was staying when she attended the L.A. Italia Film Festival as a VIP guest.

The defense has said that the rape and sexual assault never happened, claiming that she was never in a hotel room with Weinstein on the night of the alleged incident.

On Friday, the biggest focus of the prosecution’s final rebuttal was Jane Doe #1, whose allegations carry the most charges — and a key element of the prosecutor’s argument was that Jane Doe #1 wouldn’t have been able to describe Weinstein’s genitalia had she not been sexually assaulted by him.

During her testimony, Jane Doe #1 spoke at length about Weinstein’s testicles. On the stand, she tearfully told the jury that Weinstein demanded she “suck his balls,” or forced her to perform oral sex on him. Rehashing the graphic details, she said, “He forced me to do what he asked… I was crying, choking.” But during cross-examination, one of Weinstein’s attorneys, Alan Jackson, asked Jane Doe #1 how Weinstein’s “balls were in your mouth,” if he does not have testicles. “The reason that you changed your story is because you realized at some point that Mr. Weinstein does not have testicles in his scrotum,” Jackson said to Jane Doe #1 during her three-day testimony. She disagreed and said she never changed her story, and always told detectives that Weinstein had abnormal testicles. “I recall that he didn’t have one,” she said. “It was like empty skin.”

On Friday, Thompson addressed the jury. “You saw those photographs … I’m sure if we asked you, it would be hard to describe … It’s hard to describe if you’re not a medical professional.”

Thompson argued that while Jane Doe #1’s description may have not been perfectly accurate, the only way she would have any information about Weinstein’s testicles is if she was sexually assaulted.

“Jane Doe #1 is able to describe Mr. Weinstein’s anatomy,” Thompson said. “She can do that because he assaulted her. There’s no other explanation for that.”

Jane Doe #1 is not the only woman who described Weinstein’s genitalia during the trial.

Jane Doe #2, who testified that Weinstein groped her and masturbated in front of her in 2013 said, “His penis was disgusting. It looked like it had been chopped off and sewn back on, like something wasn’t right about it.”

Jane Doe #4, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, said, “I just remember being shocked by everything.” The First Partner of California, who is married to Gov. Gavin Newsom, has accused Weinstein of raping her in 2005 when she was an up-and-coming actor and filmmaker. She described Weinstein’s body as having, “Lots of bruises, markings, yellow and green, lots of stretch marks on his belly, very not physically fit at all.” She said his penis appeared to be “kind of fish-like,” and described “something was distorted in the testicles … Lots of skin, lots of skin down there.”

Pertaining to Jane Doe #1, Weinstein’s attorneys say she was never in the hotel room because a fire alarm went off in the hotel around the time of the alleged assault, but Jane Doe #1 never heard the alarm. Prosecutors rebutted that it’s possible that she didn’t hear the fire alarm in her room, or that the alarm could have gone off before she had returned to the hotel that night, after attending the film festival where she briefly met Weinstein. During the defense’s closing arguments, Weinstein’s attorney, Jackson, alleged that Jane Doe #1 was actually in the hotel room of the festival organizer, Pascal Vicedomini, with whom, Jackson claimed, she was having a sexual relationship. 

In response to that accusation, Thompson brought up emails between Weinstein and Vicedomini as evidence for the jury. In one email, Vicedomini wrote to Weinstein, “You are my hero and my best friend in the industry … I would always lie to please you.”

Additionally, the prosecutor brought up more emails and documents between Weinstein and various staff members and friends, in an effort to showcase Weinstein’s close relationships and the power he held in social circles and professional spaces. One email between Weinstein and Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner of Mr. C Hotel, showed Weinstein writing, “You guys have been amazing to me,” referencing the staff at the hotel where Jane Doe #1 alleges she was raped. At another instance, Thompson noted that Weinstein’s former driver who testified in the trial admitted on the stand that Weinstein was paying for his attorney.

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