(NEW YORK) — Twelve New Yorkers have been chosen to sit in judgment of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein at his rape and sexual assault trial.
The jury selected consists of seven men and five women. Six of the seven men are white and one is African American. Three of the women are African American — with one sharing African American and Latino heritage — and two are white.
Among three alternate jurors chosen to complete jury selection, one is a white man, one is an African American woman and a third is a Hispanic woman.
The grueling jury selection took nearly two full weeks. Prosecutors repeatedly accused the defense of trying to strike white women from the jury. Defense attorneys accused prosecutors of trying to keep men off the jury. Each side refuted the other side’s allegations.
During jury selection on Friday, prosecutors and defense attorneys questioned prospective jurors in blocks of 20.
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi stressed the need for the Weinstein jury to be able to pay close attention to potentially disturbing testimony and to recognize that people can be in severe personal anguish while still showing up for work each day and appearing normal.
“Somebody could be suffering in their personal lives but put on a brave face in their public lives,” Illuzzi said.
“Can you all appreciate that the people who come and have to sit here and face all of you will be perhaps a little panic-stricken? They’re going to need to know that you’re paying attention and that you’re not going to dismiss them out of hand and really listen,” she said.
In what Illuzzi described as her “most important question,” she asked whether jurors had the stomach to convict Weinstein.
“If we do our job and we prove that man guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, we need to know that each and every one of you will be able to come and say to this court, and to him, that you’ve found him guilty,” she said.
Defense attorney Arthur Aidala wanted to know the opposite — could each of the prospective jurors acquit Weinstein?
“It may be the right verdict,” he said. “It may be the correct verdict, but it may not be the popular verdict. Is that something that you’re going to have a problem with?”
In his final question to one group of prospective jurors during Friday’s morning session, Aidala asked a simple question: “Who here thinks that someone could have consensual sexual relations with someone at work to get ahead at work?”
Later, fellow defense counsel Damon Cheronis asked prospective jurors whether they could envision a scenario in which “a young aspiring actress … may have sex with an older man for some reason other than love.”
He then asked, “Does anybody — or can anybody — think of a situation where someone would have a consensual sexual relations with someone and then years later say it wasn’t consensual, when it was?”
The case is scheduled to move into opening arguments next week.
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