Harvey Weinstein‘s back surgeon will not be allowed to testify in support of the disgraced Hollywood mogul who has been ridiculed in the press and on Saturday Night Live for relying on a walker to enter the courthouse.
The judge presiding over Weinstein’s criminal trial denied defence attorney Damon Cheronis’ efforts to bring the doctor to the stand, a request made because he believes the “jury thinks he’s faking” his ill health.
New York Supreme Court Judge James Burke told Mr Cheronis to “stop reading newspapers” instead.
The request was among several others made by Mr Weinstein’s defence following several days of damning witness testimony from the prosecution, alleging that the former producer raped a woman in New York in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on another woman in 2006. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases and has denied that the incidents were non-consensual.
Among the witnesses are six women who say the former producer has assaulted them. Last week, a woman who alleged that Mr Weinstein raped her broke down in tears on the witness stand, forcing the judge to adjourn the trial until the following day.
Prosecutors wrapped their case last week, setting up a round of questioning for his defence team. Final arguments in the case could begin as early as this week.
On Monday, the defence presented witness testimony from Claudia Salinas, who disputed Lauren Marie Young’s claim that Ms Salinas closed a door behind her as Mr Weinstein stripped and then assaulted Ms Young.
Ms Young’s allegations are part of a criminal case that was opened in California against Mr Weinstein as his trial began in New York.
Hours after his New York rape trial began in January, Los Angeles district attorney Jackie Lacey announced that Mr Weinstein had been charged with raping a woman and sexually assaulting another woman over a two-day period in February 2013. He has been charged with forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.
As he entered the courtroom on Monday, Mr Weinstein was bombarded with questions from reporters, whom he typically ignores. One person asked whether he’s been watching this season’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which Larry David’s co-star Jeff Garlin is repeatedly mistaken from Mr Weinstein, as Mr David is embroiled in a #MeToo scandal.
According to Deadline, Mr Weinstein smiled and answered “no”.
Jurors also heard from defence witness Talita Maia, a former roommate of the woman that Mr Weinstein is on trial for allegedly raping in New York. Ms Maia said nothing seemed unusual about the woman after her alleged attack.
Last week, that woman testified she didn’t tell anyone what had happened and had “shut down” after the assault.
The defence will continue making its case on Tuesday.
Additional reporting by agencies