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Weinstein case moves to opening arguments with witnesses in focus

HARVEY WEINSTEIN (ADDS VIDEO) | 21 de enero de 2020

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein leaves the New York courthouse on Jan. 10, 2020, on the fourth day of trial proceedings in the sexual abuse case against him. EFE/EPA/JUSTIN LANE

New York, Jan 21 (efe-epa).- The the 12-person jury and three alternatives now selected, the sexual abuse trial of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein will move forward on Wednesday in New York with opening arguments by the prosecution and the defense, which on Tuesday outlined their strategies before the judge presiding in the case.

Judge James Burke said that the trial would move forward after three hours of deliberations with Weinstein's attorneys and discussion of the type of evidence that will be allowed to be presented in the courtroom regarding the five counts of sexual abuse the disgraced movie mogul is facing.

One of Weinstein's defense attorneys, Damon Cheronis, obtained Burke's approval to speak on Wednesday about the contents of "dozens and dozens" of "loving" e-mails that the witnesses allegedly sent to the film producer and with which his attorneys seek to sow doubts among the jury - consisting of seven men and five women - that the sexual encounters he had with his accusers were consensual.

Some of the women who say they were sexually victimized by Weinstein "also bragged about being in a sexual relationship with him," Cheronis said.

Given the opposition of assistant prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon to showing those e-mails during the presentation, Cheronis said that the defense is going to respond to the witnesses who have accused his client of abuse in their "own words."

Besides the evidence, the parties dealt with a question that the judge left up in the aid: whether a women who is writing a novel about young women dealing with "predatory men" should remain on the jury, which the defense objected to on Friday after the jury had been empaneled with three substitutes, which is three less than normal.

As had been expected after several previous denials, Burke denied the defense motion to move the trial to another venue far from the New York "media circus," namely to a city such as Albany or Suffolk, where allegedly there would be fewer journalists and less "prejudice" against their client.

Judge Burke, in one of his denials last week, emphasized specifically the "good behavior" of the press during one of the days of jury selection when the courtroom on the 15th floor of the building was only half full.

Nevertheless, with the start of oral arguments on Wednesday in the first criminal case arising as a result of the #MeToo movement, it will be difficult to find a time when the court is half vacant again until the end of the trial about March 6 and the judicial fate of one of Hollywood's most powerful figures before his fall from grace becomes known.

Weinstein is charged with performing a forcible sex act on a woman in his apartment in 2006 and with raping a woman in a New York City hotel room in 2013, but he has claimed that any sexual activity was consensual.

The producer, 67, could be facing life in prison, if convicted.

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