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Prosecutor Asked Potential Jurors If Harvey Weinstein’s Appearance Made Them Think He’s Innocent

Does Harvey Weinstein look violent to you? It’s a shallow question, but important to the disgraced Hollywood mogul’s upcoming rape trial. Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon asked potential jurors on Thursday if there seemed to be anything about the way the defendant looked in court that negated in their minds that he could be violent or a rapist, or had them thinking without hearing any of the evidence that he couldn’t be guilty.

One of the potential jurors said, yes, it did seem like that to him. He ended up being dismissed.

To be sure, Weinstein is accused of being violent. He’s going to stand trial for allegedly raping an unnamed woman in 2013, and for sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006. Actress Annabella Sciorra, who is set to testify at trial as a witness to prior bad acts, has said that he entered her apartment uninvited in the early 1990s, and raped her. More than 80 women said Weinstein engaged in sexual misconduct against him. Even those who don’t accuse him of rape or sexual assault said he could be overbearing and become vindictive when rejected. For example, actress Salma Hayek said he constantly badgered her with sexual demands, and that he lashed out at her after she kept turning him down.

Weinstein has rejected allegations of rape, and his attorneys deny the charges, saying these were consensual encounters.

On Thursday, none of the other potential remaining jurors said that the defendant’s appearance negated the idea that he could be guilty. Weinstein’s physical state has been a topic of discussion ever since he seemed frail and used a walker to make it to court.

It’s easy to find scuttlebutt online that he’s doing this to score sympathy with the court or jury. Here he is arriving at court on Thursday.

Weinstein has denied faking his condition. He said that he sustained a back injury in a car accident last August, and received surgery in December.

Jesse Weber contributed to this report.

[Image via Scott Heins/Getty Images]

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