The actor Mel Gibson can testify at trial for sexual assault and rape Harvey WeinsteinJudge Lisa Lench ruled. Lench ruled that Gibson can sit on the stand for having knowledge of one of the complaints made by victims of the former film producer.
Gibson was one of many witnesses, and by far the best known, whose identities were revealed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Lench ruled that Gibson can testify in support of her masseuse and friend, who will be known as Jane Doe #3 at trial. Weinstein is accused of committing sexual assault against the woman, one of 11 counts of rape and sexual assault on trial.
Prosecutors said that after receiving a massage from the woman at a California hotel in Beverly Hills in May 2010, Naked Weinstein followed her into the bathroom and masturbated.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and denied any non-consensual sexual activity.
Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez introduced Lench that the prosecution wants to call both Gibson and Allison Weiner to testify.
According to Martinez, Jane Doe 3 approached Gibson and detailed the sexual assault before Gibson told Weiner. Martinez shared that Gibson doesn’t recall the timing of the exchange, but Weiner recalled hearing it from Gibson in 2015, which the district attorney said is relevant to the timing of the case.
Martinez and the district attorney’s office argue that this is a “new complaint,” but Weinstein’s attorney, Mark Werksman, disagrees. A “new complaint” under California law allows for the introduction of evidence of a sexual assault or other crime if the victim voluntarily reported it to someone else and relatively soon after it happened.
“On that basis, we would ask that Mel Gibson not be allowed to testify,” Werksman said.
Judge Lench said Gibson’s testimony will depend on how the accuser describes the exchange with him when he takes the stand, and he may choose to rule against it at that point.
Werksman argues that if Gibson does in fact testify, the defense should be allowed to question him about the antisemitic comments what he did in the past. The actor and director was arrested in 2006. A recording from 2010 showed that Gibson said racist words to the officers who stopped him.
Werksman shared that a feud between Gibson and Weinstein started over the Gibson-directed movie. “Passion of Christ”. According to Werksman, Weinstein published a book that criticized the portrayal of Jews in Gibson’s film, and Werksman argues that because of the book and because Weinstein is Jewish, Gibson has a Weinstein-related bias.
“Any evidence of Mr. Gibson’s racism or anti-Semitism would result in bias against my client, who challenged him,” Werksman said.
Martinez called Gibson’s earlier comments “despicable” but said they had no relevance to the purposes for which he would be called to the stand.
In one of several similar rulings on Friday, Lench also found that the “Melrose Place” actress daphne zuniga could testify for a woman known at trial as Jane Doe #4, whom Weinstein is accused of raping in 2004 or 2005.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault involving the California governor. Gavin Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel, and four other women will testify as “Jane Doe” during the trial in a Los Angeles court, where jury selection began Monday.
Weinstein, 70, is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence following a conviction in New York. Weinstein was granted leave to appeal his 2020 sex crimes conviction to the New York State Court of Appeals.
Weinstein’s trial, which comes five years after women’s stories about him fueled the #MeToo movement, is expected to last eight weeks. With the jury evaluation and selection process slow from a group of more than 200 people, opening statements are not expected until October 24.
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Mel Gibson authorized to testify in Harvey Weinstein rape trial