No Harvey Weinstein retrial on rape, sex assault charges
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles prosecutors told a judge Tuesday that they will not retry Harvey Weinstein, who was convicted of the rape and sexual assault of one woman, on counts involving two others that left jurors deadlocked.
Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson announced the decision to Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench at a hearing in downtown Los Angeles. The judge granted a defense motion to dismiss the charges and said Weinstein would be returned to New York, where he was convicted in a similar case.
Weinstein attorney Jacqueline Sparagna said he maintains his innocence of the charges.
In December, the Los Angeles jury convicted Weinstein, 70, of the rape and sexual assault of Italian model and actor Evgeniya Chernyshova, and he was sentenced to 16 years in prison. That’s in addition to the 23-year sentence he is already serving in New York.
Jurors could not reach unanimous verdicts on a rape count and a sexual assault count involving Jennifer Siebel Newsom — a documentary filmmaker and the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom — and a sexual battery count involving model Lauren Young.
Young testified at Weinstein’s New York trial as a supporting witness, but was not part of the charges there as she was in California. She said at Tuesday’s hearing that she was “very disappointed” prosecutors would not be moving forward with a retrial.
“For 10 years I have done everything possible to seek justice for what the defendant did to me,” Young said, reading from prepared remarks with her attorney Gloria Allred standing behind her. “I have not achieved the justice that I had hoped to obtain.”
Ten of the 12 jurors agreed to convict Weinstein of the sexual battery charge involving Young.
Thompson said the difficulty of having hesitant witnesses corroborate Young’s story was a factor. He commended Young for testifying “credibly and courageously,” and said “we never wavered in our confidence in her.”
“It is a difficult decision,” Thompson said. “We certainly did want to see justice for all the victims.”
He added that Weinstein would likely only face an additional year in prison if convicted on the sexual battery count, and that additional stretch was not worth another trial.
The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they identify themselves publicly or consent through their attorneys, as the women named here have.
Siebel Newsom’s attorney Elizabeth Fegan said in a statement after the hearing that they respect the prosecution’s decision not to retry the charges related to her.
“The First Partner’s primary intention in coming forward was to ensure that Weinstein spends the rest of his life in prison,” Fegan said. She added that had “the court not handed down a fitting sentence, my client would have been ready to support the prosecutors if they opted to retry Weinstein, even considering the enormous emotional toll it would inflict on her.”
Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez read a statement from Siebel Newsom at the hearing.
“The defense reopened and exacerbated my trauma,” the statement said. “He tried to ruin my life and the lives of so many other women. He deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”
Sparagna said at the hearing that the encounter with Siebel Newsom was consensual, as his attorneys argued during the trial. Weinstein insisted at his sentencing that he had never even met Chernyshova. His lawyers also deny he was ever with Young in the hotel room where she said the assault happened.
After the hearing, Allred identified another client who Weinstein was charged with raping and sexually assaulting but declined to take part in the trial at the last moment, leading to the counts involving her being dismissed.
The woman, Australian actor and model Kate Jaggard, said in a statement that she was willing to undergo cross-examination at the trial but could not appear to testify because of circumstance beyond her control.
She said she was “deeply disappointed” Lench would not allow her and other women Weinstein was not convicted of assaulting to give victim impact statements at his sentencing. But she said “the conviction was a win for all sexual assault victims.”
Allred is appealing the judge’s decision to the California Supreme Court in hopes that such impact statements will be allowed at similar sentencings.
Weinstein’s New York conviction is under appeal and his attorneys plan to appeal his California conviction.
His spokesperson Juda Engelmayer said that with a retrial no longer looming, Weinstein “can focus on the counts he was convicted on,” and “proof that corroborates Harvey’s claims that it never happened, and he didn’t know or meet this person.”
Weinstein himself said in a statement that he is reading books on legendary defense attorney Clarence Darrow, “so that I may understand more for my own legal defense, as I continue the monumental challenge of ultimately proving my innocence.”
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton