On Monday morning, the first day of the sexual assault trial for film mogul Harvey Weinstein, the defendant’s lawyer informed the jury of 12 people in the Manhattan criminal court that she would be recommending a first-degree rape charge for her client.

“Two days ago my client brought himself to this date — his senses,” said the lawyer, Phyllis Kupferstein. “He is imposing upon himself this penalty — a first-degree rape charge.”

The judge, Reed O’Connor, seemed unhappy about the way the proceedings had progressed. Before receiving the jury, he asked her a series of questions about what she had intended to say. Kupferstein seemed to find all of the queries to be bizarre, as she clarified that she had in fact introduced the first-degree rape charge to the jury and would “still be going over” them again when she raised her own issues with the judge. The complaint tells the story differently, and simply says that in 2004, Weinstein was charged with sexually assaulting an individual he allegedly knew had the mental capacity of a child.

Kupferstein ultimately blamed the courthouse’s refusal to permit jurors to hear testimony from about two dozen witnesses about their interactions with Weinstein, citing his many sexual abusers: “you had Kevin Spacey; you had John Galliano; you had Harvey Weinstein; you had Billy Weinstein; you had others who have been very grave and gravely compromised.” When asked why she wasn’t asking her client to plead guilty instead of proceeding with a trial, Kupferstein dismissed this possibility as “complete fantasy.”

Shortly after, she was allowed to deliver her speech to the jury.

[The Daily Beast]

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.


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