Movie producer Harvey Weinstein made the choice Wednesday to not provide testimony to the grand jury that found cause to indict him on criminal sexual assault and rape charges.
Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer working for Weinstein, says that his client chose not to testify before the grand jury after being denied vital information that would have given him the opportunity to properly prepare.
The most serious acts charged by the grand jury is a first-degree felony resulting from allegations that Weinstein forced a woman to perform oral sex on him in 2004. Additional first and third-degree charges were added to the docket against Weinstein for incidents taking place in 2013 in which Weinstein is said to have committed rape by means of “forcible compulsion.”
The most serious charges filed against Weinstein can possibly result in a sentence from five to 25 years in the New York State Prison system.
Brafman says that all sexual acts were consensual and went on to say that one of the alleged victims was in a ten-year physical relationship with Weinstein and that the relationship continued long after the alleged sexual assault.
A recent story published by the Hollywood Reporter speculated about whether prior incidents involving abuse of women by Weinstein could be introduced by prosecutors. The story referred to the recent conviction of comedian and television star Bill Cosby of a similar crime in which five women were allowed to testify about “prior acts” committed against them by Cosby.
Many legal experts believe that the additional testimony by the five women from previous acts was the single most significant factor leading to the conviction of Cosby.
Former Manhattan prosecutor, Mark Bederow, says that this type of testimony involving prior bad acts is something that is generally not allowed in New York courts. However, there are times when this testimony is admissible to establish that a defendant commits a signature type of crime.
Bederow added that it is his thoughts that in the Weinstein case prosecutors will paint the “casting couch scenario” in an attempt to have this evidence heard by jurors.