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Lawyers at Weinstein trial work to whittle jury pool

Harvey Weinstein arrives for jury selection in his trial on rape and sexual assault charges, in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

BY MICHAEL R. SISAK 

Harvey Weinstein and his lawyers met with prosecutors behind closed doors for about an hour on Wednesday morning as they worked to whittle down the pool of prospective jurors based on their responses on a screening questionnaire.

Jurors were asked, among other things, if they could ignore media coverage and decide the case based only on evidence heard in court. They were also asked if they or someone they knew had been a victim of sexual violence.

The defense and prosecution started going over the questionnaires on Tuesday and by the time court resumed Wednesday had already “come a long way” on agreeing which prospective jurors should return for further questioning, Judge James Burke said.

Neither Burke nor the lawyers disclosed how many potential jurors remained in contention. A second round of questioning meant to finalize the jury panel is due to start on Thursday.

Jury selection is in its seventh day.

Weinstein, 67, is accused of raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulting another in 2006.

The former studio boss behind such Oscar winners as “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love” has said any sexual activity was consensual.

Both sides hope to deliver opening statements before the end of the month. The trial is expected to last into March.

If convicted, Weinstein could face life in prison.

Los Angeles prosecutors recently announced new charges in a separate case against Weinstein.

Those charges accuse Weinstein of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another woman on back-to-back nights in 2013. He has not entered a plea in that case, which will be tried later.

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