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Harvey Weinstein's Trial is Underway — and He (Once Again) Won't Get Off His Phone in Court


Nov. 19 2020, Updated 9:57 p.m. ET

Rumors of Harvey Weinstein's inappropriate behavior with actresses, aspiring stars, subordinates, and women in the entertainment industry had been swirling around Hollywood for years before his arrest. But thanks to journalist Ronan Farrow, who released a damning exposé in 2017, his reign and abuse of power ended. 

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In the two years since the accusations broke and the one year since he was arrested, Weinstein's life has been kept somewhat under wraps, except for his court appearances. 

Where is Harvey Weinstein now? He's been dealing with health issues and ankle monitor violations. During his trial, he was also reprimanded for being on his phone (and it wasn't the first time).  

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Where is Harvey Weinstein now? 

When Ronan Farrow's investigation into Harvey Weinstein's actions was first released in October 2017, the #MeToo movement gained speed, which encouraged more sexual harassment and abuse victims to speak up. And Weinstein's arrest in May 2018 had the public crying out for a speedy trial. 

But, Weinstein's previous success as a producer (and as the former head of Miramax) enabled him to get a top-notch defense team. He pleaded "not guilty" to the charges against him — he's said on multiple occasions that every count against him was actually consensual sex — on Aug. 26. His trial date was pushed from September 2019 to January 6, 2020.

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Though Weinstein was accused by dozens of women of rape and sexual assault, his trial will only center around charges from two women. He was charged with five crimes pertaining to sexual assault, rape, and predatory behavior.

He went to court in August for a hearing, and appeared to have lost some weight. The judge called Weinstein out for using his phone during the hearing. This wouldn't be the last time he would get in trouble for a phone.

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On Dec. 6, Weinstein attended another hearing, during which his bail was increased from $1 million to $5 million. The increase was due to the fact that the shamed producer had violated the geographic limits put on by his ankle monitor. His lawyers including, Donna Rottuno, argued that the violations were actually just instances when Weinstein forgot to wear it, and that he would always call home once he realized he forgot it. She also said his extreme health issues were affected by the bracelet.

Rottuno claimed that Weinstein would be getting back surgery on Dec. 12 following a spine injury resulting from an August car accident. She and the other lawyers claimed that he needed to be out on bail so he could get the surgery. The producer also struggles with Type 2 diabetes, and he appeared at court on Dec. 11 with a walker. 

On Dec. 11, it was reported that Weinstein's team had reached a civil settlement agreement with the legal representatives for 30 of his alleged victims. 

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Under this $25 million agreement, Weinstein does not have to pay the victims himself (the insurance company for The Weinstein Company does) and he doesn't have to admit any fault. 

Several of the women included in this suit are expected to appeal, citing that the settlement is insufficient in covering their grief. The settlement is still awaiting approval from a judge in Delaware, and a judge in New York.

Harvey Weinstein's trial began and the judge threatened to revoke bail. 

After months of anticipation, the case against Weinstein went to trial on Jan. 6 in Manhattan, New York. He wore an ill-fitted suit and used a walker again. Actresses Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette were among those in the crowd protesting against the former producer.

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As the trial began, it was announced that he would also be facing rape charges in California. His lawyers requested that the New York trial be pushed back because of this announcement, but this was denied. Attorney Arthur Aidala said that it would difficult to pick an impartial jury because Weinstein was the "talk of the town" following the California charges.

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In court, Weinstein violated the Judge James Burke's order by using a cell phone. According to reports, Weinstein brought four phones with him into the court room. When one was taken away from him, he took out another one.

The judge threatened to revoke Weinstein's bail and put him in jail following the cell phone usage. 

"Mr. Weinstein, I strongly urge you to exercise your right to remain silent at this point; that is, don't say anything," the judge said when he saw Weinstein using his phone. "But is this really the way you want to end up in jail for the rest of your life, in violation of a 'do not text in court' rule?" 

"I'm not looking for apologies, I’m looking for compliance," the judge later said when Weinstein's team apologized. Judge Burke then decided not to change Weinstein's bail agreement.

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Actress Annabella Sciorra will provide key testimony against Weinstein.

One of the reasons why the trial was originally pushed to January is because the prosecution wanted to use testimony from actress Annabella Sciorra. She starred on The Sopranos and her account of Weinstein's actions was included in Ronan Farrow's New Yorker piece. She accused Weinstein of raping her in 1993 after he allegedly broke into her apartment.

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Weinstein's defense team was less than thrilled about Sciorra's testimony being admissible in court. During the August hearing, they referred to it as an "11th hour" tactic to damage the defense. 

Because Sciorra's claim of rape took place more than 25 years ago, the statute of limitations has run out on her ability to press formal charges against Weinstein. However, her side of the story could help the prosecution's case in court.

Donna Rottuno tried to undermine Sciorra's impending testimony, and said that the actress "has spent an entire life acting for a living," which would make her "an excellent witness on the stand." 

During the jury selection process, 120 potential jurors were brought to the courtroom. Reportedly, more than one third of these potential jurors raised their hands when asked if they believed Weinstein was guilty of sexual assault.

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