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Seven jurors have been picked to serve in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial in New York County.
Four of the jurors are men and three are women. One of the men is African-American and three are Caucasian. All three women are African-American.
A total of 12 jurors and six alternate jurors will eventually be selected and seated before the trial begins with opening statements on Wednesday.
After more than a week of seating panels of 120 potential jurors on a daily basis, amassing a group of about 608 people that were called in, the pool was whittled down significantly heading into more formal jury selection on Thursday.
Starting the day, a pool of about 140 prospective jurors remained after 62 had been dismissed based on how they answered written questionnaires.
Supreme Court Judge James Burke told the jury that “this trial is not a referendum on the #MeToo movement” and “is not a referendum on women’s rights.”
“You must decide this case on the evidence,” the judge told them, explaining that the prospective jurors are “allowed to have strongly held beliefs” on subjects like women’s rights and sexual harassment, but those beliefs cannot be the basis for determining the verdict.
“The issue is not if you feel strongly about those subjects, but only if those beliefs would prevent you from deciding on the facts in the case,” he said. “The sole issue is for you to decide whether or not the defendant committed certain acts which constitute a particular crime … and decide whether or not the facts have been proven.”
Jury selection was set to continue on Thursday, and likely on Friday, until all 18 jurors are selected.
Before the day’s jury selection process began, the judge called one prospective juror before him and gave him a March 10 court date to explain why he should not be held in contempt for tweeting about the case against his orders. “Good luck,” he told the man, who had asked his followers how he could leverage his jury service into a promotion for his professional work.
Weinstein’s defense team had once again asked the judge to handle jury selection on a private, person-by-person basis, a request that was quickly denied.
Jan. 16, 1:11 p.m. Updated to note that additional jurors have been selected.
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