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Harvey Weinstein’s defense rests its case in New York rape trial

Harvey Weinstein’s defense has rested its case in his New York rape trial after the disgraced Hollywood producer declined to take the stand.

Weinstein’s lawyers relied on just a few witnesses to supplement their aggressive cross-examination as they aimed to undercut his accusers before resting their case on Tuesday.

As expected, Weinstein chose not to tell his own story at the risk of having prosecutors grill him on cross-examination about disturbing allegations that six of his accusers detailed for the Manhattan jury of seven men and five women. 

Thomas Richards Lozano, a Hollywood agent friend of Weinstein’s rape accuser Jessica Mann, was the last to testify as a defense witness. 

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to raping Mann in a New York hotel in 2013 and to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in his apartment in 2006.

Mann accused Weinstein of raping her in the Doubletree Hotel in Manhattan in March 2013. She previously testified that the rape occurred in the course of an ‘extremely degrading’ relationship with Weinstein that lasted for years.   

Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers are set to rest their defense case on Tuesday and it is not yet clear if the disgraced Hollywood mogul himself will take the stand 

Lozano, who was at the hotel with Mann for a scheduled breakfast meeting with Weinstein, testified on Tuesday that she seemed like her ‘everyday self’ during the 45 minute meeting.

He was brought in to testify as Weinstein’s lawyers tried to discredit Mann’s claims about the alleged rape.  

Jessica 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

Lozano said he took Mann to New York after an entertainment industry friend offered him free tickets to the Broadway show Wicked, flights and a hotel for him and a friend. 

In her testimony, Mann claimed Weinstein raped her in the room at the hotel after surprising her by checking in early. Afterwards, she said she pretended it didn’t happen because she did not want Lozano or her friends to know about it. 

Defense attorney Arthur Aidala asked Lozano if there was anything in her appearance, her clothes or her complexion that was unusual. Each time he said no.

‘Was there anything to indicate Jessica Mann was in any sort of distress?’ Aidala asked. Lozano said no. 

He testified that at one point Mann pulled Lozano aside for a private conversation and asked if he was okay with her staying another night, which meant they wouldn’t travel back to Los Angeles together.

Lozano said Mann wanted to stay because ‘Harvey invited her to stay an extra night’.

In her testimony, Mann claimed that she did so under duress and stayed at a friend’s house instead of the hotel because she was scared Weinstein might come for her again. 

Weinstein's lawyers are expected to call the former agent of rape accuser Jessica Mann to testify as the disgraced Hollywood mogul's weeks-long trial nears a close

Weinstein’s lawyers are expected to call the former agent of rape accuser Jessica Mann to testify as the disgraced Hollywood mogul’s weeks-long trial nears a close

Asked to describe Mann during that conversation, Lozano said she was ‘normal… her everyday self’.

Lozano, who gave evidence under a subpoena, said he had been friends with Mann for 10 years and that they met around 2010.

Asked if he was there to help Weinstein, Lozano said: ‘Not at all’. 

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

It comes after Mann’s former friend Talita Maia, a Brazilian-born actress, testified on Monday that Mann did not show any distress after the alleged attack. 

The decision to rest their case came a day after the defense got a boost from two witnesses – one of which was Maia – who cast doubt on the accounts of two of  Weinstein’s accusers. 

Weinstein has maintained any sexual encounters were consensual. 

The judge is now expected to instruct jurors not to view Weinstein’s decision not to testify as a sign of guilt. 

Weinstein has been increasingly upbeat coming and going from court as the trial has worn on, though in front of jurors he has mostly been sitting quietly at the defense table, munching on mints, jotting notes and occasionally dozing off.  

Mann's former friend Talita Maia, a Brazilian-born actress, testified on Monday that Mann did not show any distress after the alleged attack

Mann’s former friend Talita Maia, a Brazilian-born actress, testified on Monday that Mann did not show any distress after the alleged attack

Prosecutors rested their case last 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.

Claudia Salinas, a Mexican model and actress, took the stand Tuesday to defend herself against accuser Lauren Marie Young’s claim that she stood by and did nothing while Weinstein sexually assaulted Young at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2013.

‘Never happened,’ Salinas told jurors.

Young, a model, had testified last week that Salinas closed the door behind her and Weinstein as they went into the bathroom, where she alleges he stripped off his clothes, grabbed her breast and masturbated.

Once it was over, Young said she found Salinas standing outside the bathroom and shot her an evil look before leaving as quickly as she could.

‘If I had done that, I would remember that,’ Salinas testified. ‘I would never close the door on anybody.’

The defense began their case last 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 also 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.

Weinstein faces life in prison if convicted of predatory sexual assault, the most serious charge against him. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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