Mel Gibson Can Testify at Harvey Weinstein Trial, Judge Says

Mel Gibson can testify about what he learned from one of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers, a judge ruled Friday in the former movie mogul’s rape and sexual assault trial.

The 66-year-old actor and director was one of many witnesses, and by far the best known, whose identities were revealed in Los Angeles Superior Court. The judge and attorneys took a break from jury selection on what evidence would be allowed at trial, and who could testify. The list of witnesses in the trial has been sealed.

Judge Lisa B. Lynch ruled that Gibson could testify in support of his message and friend, who will be known at trial as Jane Doe #3. Weinstein is accused of aggravated sexual battery against the woman, one of 11 counts of rape and sexual assault in the 70-year-old’s lawsuit.

After giving the woman a massage at a Beverly Hills, California hotel in May 2010, a naked Weinstein followed her into the bathroom and masturbated, prosecutors said. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty, and has denied any non-consensual sexual activity.

Weinstein’s attorneys argued against allowing Gibson to testify, saying that what he learned while giving the woman a massage did not constitute a “fresh complaint” by the woman under the statute that would allow Gibson to testify. Will take a stand. Under California law, a “recent complaint” allows evidence of a sexual assault or other crime to be presented if the victim voluntarily and relatively quickly reported it to someone else after it occurred.

Prosecutors said the woman reacted hurt when Gibson casually brought up Weinstein’s name, and Gibson assumed she had been sexually assaulted. Gibson did not remember the time of the exchange, but prosecutors will use another witness, Alison Weiner, who remembers talking to both Gibson and the woman in 2015.

Judge Lynch said Gibson’s testimony will depend on how the accused describes the exchange with her when she takes the stand, and she may choose to rule against him at that point. .

Weinstein’s attorney, Mark Werksman, then argued that if Gibson took the stand, the defense would have to testify about Gibson’s widely publicized anti-Semitic remarks during his 2006 arrest, and racist remarks to a girlfriend. I should be allowed to cross-examine what was recorded. 2010.

Lynch said the broader debate about Gibson’s racism was not relevant to the case, but she would allow the question of whether she had a personal bias and animosity toward Weinstein.

Werksman argued that Gibson was prejudiced because Weinstein is Jewish, and because Weinstein published a book criticizing the portrayal of Jews in a 2004 film directed by Gibson. The Passion of Christ.

“Any evidence of Mr. Gibson’s racism or antisemitism would prejudice my client, who challenged him,” Werksman said.

The lawyer briefly and mistakenly said he thought the film had won the Academy Award for best picture, but Weinstein, whose films once dominated the Oscars, shook his head as he took the defense table.

“Sorry, my client would know better than I do,” Werksman said. “But it was an award-winning film.”

The defense also argued that Gibson was trying to whitewash his image by focusing on Weinstein’s wrongdoing and asserting himself as a champion of the #MeToo movement.

Prosecutors argued that Gibson had made no such suggestion, and that during his text message conversation he said he was discussing a business deal with Weinstein, showing There is no such bias.

Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez called Gibson’s past comments “abhorrent,” but said they were irrelevant to the narrow purposes for which he would be called to the stand.

Gibson’s testimony raises the prospect of two of Hollywood’s once most powerful men, who have been publicly defeated, facing each other in court.

An email seeking comment from a representative for Gibson was not immediately returned.

In one of several similar rulings Friday, Lynch also found that Melrose Place Actor Daphne Zuniga may also testify for a similar woman known as Jane Doe #4 in the lawsuit, which Weinstein is accused of raping in 2004 or 2005.

The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted.

Weinstein is already serving a 23-year sentence in New York for rape and sexual assault. The state’s highest court has agreed to hear his appeal in the matter.

He was then brought to Los Angeles for a trial that began Monday, five years after women’s stories about him gave the #MeToo movement tremendous momentum.

Friday’s arguments came a day after the film premiered she saidwhich tells the story of the two’s work. The New York Times Reporters whose stories brought down Weinstein.

Weinstein’s lawyers had previously tried to delay the Los Angeles trial because publicity for the film could taint the jury pool, but the judge denied their motion.

The trial is expected to last eight weeks. The judge and attorneys will return to the jury selection process Monday morning, and opening statements are expected to begin Oct. 24.

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