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One of the jurors who decided to convict Harvey Weinstein of rape in Monday’s landmark verdict says he and the other 11 people on the jury were careful to merely consider the facts in front of them.
“There is no message,” the juror, identified only by his first name of Drew, told Gayle King in an interview that aired on CBS This Morning on Friday. “We were there to do a job and make a decision based on the information that was presented to us and we have absolutely no stance or voice or opinion as to any larger movement.”
Drew added that he and the other jurors didn’t discuss what their decision would mean for the larger #MeToo movement.
“That’s not the job and that’s not what we were asked to do,” he explained. “It would be an adulteration of the process to take outside factors and have that weigh on our decision-making process and eventual findings. I have no appetite or aspirations to be the voice or face of both the jury and the larger movement. This case, these people, this is our decision.”
Throughout the interview, which aired in multiple parts across Friday’s CBS This Morning, with a preview airing on the CBS Evening News the night before, Drew seemed measured and deliberate in his responses, stressing that he and his fellow jurors took the responsibility to remain impartial very seriously.
When asked about victims and their attorneys thanking the jury, Drew said, “I took no joy in any aspect of it. This is a serious matter for serious crimes.”
Weinstein was found guilty on Monday on two of the five criminal charges he was facing, convicted of criminal sexual assault in the first degree, based on the testimony of former Project Runway production assistant Miriam Haley and rape in the third degree, based on the testimony of onetime aspiring actress Jessica Mann. The jury, comprising seven men and five women, reached a decision after five days of deliberations.
While he was reluctant to pull back the curtain on how difficult it was to reach a unanimous verdict, Drew did explain the jury’s thinking as to which charges Weinstein was found guilty of.
“It wasn’t rape in the first degree. There was no physical compulsion or threat of bodily harm or death, but there was no consent given despite a lack of physical resistance and a reasonable person should have known there was no consent given in that instance,” he said, referencing the legal criteria for convictions on those charges.
Mann testified that Weinstein sexually assaulted her multiple times over the course of their relationship, raising the issue of why women who claim they were sexually assaulted would still remain in contact with their attacker.
Drew said that didn’t factor into the jury’s decision, but “in the earlier parts of the deliberation, there was huge discourse about things of that nature.”
“It’s an alleged incident, not this whole canvas of relationships,” he added. “Husbands can rape their wives. It’s a complicated issue for sure but it was our contention that it’s one incident.”
Drew said his and the decision-making of his fellow jurors wasn’t influenced by the emotional nature of testimonies from Haley, Mann and others nor was it influenced by Weinstein deciding not to take the stand himself.
But with respect to Weinstein testifying, Drew said, “I wanted him to. And I could hypothesize as to the whys that he didn’t, that he could lose kind of his shield of representation once he goes up there.”
Weinstein was found not guilty of two counts of predatory sexual assault, each carrying a sentence of up to life in prison. Drew said the testimony of Annabella Sciorra, who claims Weinstein raped her in 1993, which was key to the predatory sexual assault charge, was “compelling in and of itself, but these are serious allegations and that’s a very high burden that the prosecution took upon itself in bringing these charges.”
“It’s 27 years ago,” Drew said of what Sciorra claims occurred. “In this country, you and I and even Harvey Weinstein, are innocent until proven beyond a reasonable doubt of the opposite.”
As for how much he knew about Weinstein and the case before the trial, Drew said he knew “some” but “probably not as much as others.”
When asked what he had heard about the case, he name-checked Ronan Farrow, who reported on many of the allegations against Weinstein for The New Yorker, which Drew also cited, as well as The New York Times, which was the media outlet that first reported on Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual misconduct in an exposé published in October 2017.
“A lot of people have asked me how can you be impartial in a trial like this and I take absolute pride in my objectivity,” Drew said. “Judge [James] Burke instructed us, he said, you can know who Harvey Weinstein is and still be impartial. And I agree with him 100 percent.”
Weinstein, who’s currently at Bellevue Hospital after suffering from heart palpitations and high blood pressure following the verdict before being moved to Rikers Island, will be sentenced on March 11. He faces five to 25 years on the sexual assault conviction and 18 months to four years for the third-degree rape conviction.
Drew declined to say whether he thought Weinstein should go to jail, saying simply, “A man of his age and his current health, general population at Rikers sounds like a pretty dangerous place.”
Drew told King there was no racial or gender bias apparent in the jury deliberations.
The jurors have been reluctant to speak to the media but Juror No. 2 told Inside Edition that “tensions were very high” during the deliberations. “The temperature in the room was very high,” she added.
Drew, identified during the trial as Juror No. 9, was asked about these claims of tension, saying, “The tension — because of the professionalism and the civility of each individual juror — wasn’t person to person.”
“It was not [confrontational],” he added. “This is heavy, heavy stuff. People are baring their souls on the stand. Twelve people: Me and 11 strangers. Everybody brings their own belief system and life experience, everything — inclinations, inspirations, motivations. But it was our job that was put to us to be impartial and to interpret the law and to render a unanimous verdict in the case.”
Drew also spoke to the speculation after the jury asked, on the Friday before the verdict was reached, if they could be hung on the predatory sexual assault charges and unanimous on the others.
He told King they were simply asking for clarification and didn’t mean to suggest they’d already reached a partial verdict.
“Maybe that’s our fault for the syntax of the note, but I know now that people maybe did deduce that he was guilty somewhere along the line,” Drew said of the way the jury’s message was interpreted. “I’ll tell you I’m sick about it, because he’s a human being, and he’s going home that night and knowing that he’s walking into court Monday morning and potentially not leaving. Regardless of what any human does to any other human, for me to affect another person like that really, really took a toll on me.”
When asked if he was “comfortable” with the verdict, he said, “yes.”
“We have to live with these choices,” he added.
He also revealed that during the deliberations, he suggested that he and the other jurors switch seats each day.
“It’s a change of perspective, quite literally,” he said. “But also, if you sit next to the same person every day, it’s kind of an echo chamber of affirmation — just to avoid any type of groupthink or even subconscious gestures to one another, take a more objective approach to what we’re talking about.”
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