Mel Gibson may testify and be questioned about possible bias in Harvey Weinstein trial – GNT NEWS

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

The 66-year-old actor and director was one of many witnesses, and by far the most famous, whose identity was revealed in Los Angeles Superior Court. The judge and attorneys took a break from jury selection to make suggestions about what evidence will be allowed at trial and who can testify. The witness list for the trial is sealed.

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

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

Weinstein’s lawyers objected to allowing Gibson to testify, saying that what he learned from the woman while he was getting a massage from her did not constitute a “new complaint” by the woman under the law that Gibson would have taken the stand. A “new complaint” under California law allows the introduction of evidence of a sexual assault or other crime if the victim reported it to someone else voluntarily and relatively soon after it happened.

Prosecutors said that when Gibson casually mentioned Weinstein’s name, the woman had a traumatic response and Gibson learned from her that she had been sexually assaulted. Gibson did not remember the time of the exchange, but the prosecution will use another witness, Allison Weiner, who remembers speaking with both Gibson and the woman in 2015.

Judge Lench said Gibson’s testimony will depend on how the prosecutor describes the exchange with him when she takes the stand, which she may choose to object to.

Weinstein’s attorney, Mark Werksman, argued at the time that if Gibson did take the stand, the defense should be allowed to cross-examine him about widely publicized anti-Semitic remarks Gibson made during his 2006 arrest and racist remarks to a girl that were recorded and released in 2010.

Lench said the broader discussion of Gibson’s racism is not relevant to the trial, but will allow an examination of whether he had personal bias and animosity toward Weinstein.

Werksman argued that Gibson had such a bias both because Weinstein is Jewish and because Weinstein published a book that criticized the portrayal of Jews in the 2004 movie “The Passion of the Christ,” directed by Gibson.

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

The lawyer briefly, and mistakenly, said he thought the film got the best picture Oscarbut Weinstein, whose films once dominated the Academy Awards, shook his head as he sat at the defense table.

“I’m 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 wrongdoings and casting himself as a champion of the #MeToo movement.

The prosecution claimed that Gibson did not make such suggestions about himself, and that during the conversation with his masseuse he said that he was talking about concluding a business contract with Weinstein, showing that there is no such bias.

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

Gibson’s testimony raises the prospect that two of Hollywood’s once most powerful men, who suffered a public meltdown, will face each other in court.

The United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II announced Friday that she is revoking Harvey Weinstein’s prestigious CBE award in light of his rape convictions.

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

In one of several similar rulings Friday, Lench also revealed that “Melrose Place” actress Daphne Zuniga could testify in a similar capacity for the woman known at trial as Jane Doe #4, whom Weinstein is accused of raping in 2004 or 2005. . years.

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

Weinstein is already serving a 23-year sentence for a 2020 rape and sexual assault conviction in New York. The state’s highest court agreed to hear his appeal in the case.

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

Friday’s debates came a day after the premiere of the film “She Said,” about the work of two New York Times reporters whose stories brought down Weinstein.

Weinstein’s lawyers had previously asked for the trial in Los Angeles to be postponed because publicity from the film could prejudice the jury, but the judge rejected their request.

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

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