Jurors in the Harvey Weinstein rape trial indicated Friday that they were in a possible deadlock on two charges of predatory sexual assault, the most serious charges he faces, which carry a maximum penalty of life behind bars.
The jury sent a note to the court asking if they could be hung on one or both counts of predatory sexual assault, but unanimous on the lesser charges that include first- and third-degree rape and criminal sexual act in the first degree.
Given the structure of the charges, Weinstein can only be convicted of two charges at the most.
The judge asked the jury to resume their deliberations to try and reach a unanimous verdict.
"Any verdict you return on any count, whether guilty or not guilty, must be unanimous," Judge James Burke told the jury. "If you’ve not reached a unanimous agreement on a particular count, you cannot return a verdict on that count."
He told the jurors that it was common for a jury to have difficulty reaching a unanimous verdict and to believe that they could never reach one, but that eventually most juries are able to come to a unanimous agreement.
The testimony of actor Annabella Sciorra — who said that Weinstein raped her in the '90s — is key to the predatory sexual assault charges that the jurors appear to be split on.
Her testimony was used in combination with the allegations of Jessica Mann and Miriam Haley to support the predatory sexual assault charges.
Mann said that Weinstein raped her in a Manhattan hotel in 2013 and Haley said Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006.
The jury needs to believe both Sciorra and Haley’s testimonies in order to convict Weinstein on the first count of predatory sexual assault.
Similarly, the jury also needs to believe the testimonies of both Sciorra and Mann to convict him on another count of predatory sexual assault.
If jurors do not believe Sciorra’s account of the alleged rape, but do believe Haley’s allegations, they can find Weinstein guilty of criminal sexual act in the first degree. And if they only believe Mann’s account, they can convict him of first- or third-degree rape, but not both.
The criminal sexual act and first-degree rape charges are both punishable by at least 5 years up to 25 years in prison, while third-degree rape is punishable by up to 4 years in prison.
Over the course of four days, the jury has focused their questions on Sciorra's testimony, sending several notes requesting to rehear key testimony and look at evidence relating to her rape allegation. They have also asked to rehear testimony involving Haley's allegations, but have not sent any notes related to Mann's testimony so far.