Harvey Weinstein arrives at court for the start of jury selection in his sexual assault trial on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 in New York. Picture: AP /Seth Wenig.
Harvey Weinstein arrives at court for the start of jury selection in his sexual assault trial on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 in New York. Picture: AP /Seth Wenig.

Weinstein’s bizarre court accessories

HUNCHED over a walking frame, Harvey Weinstein looked every bit the frail, elderly man as he shuffled with assistance into a New York court for his rape trial, one day after the next.

But for many people who this week watched the disgraced film executive come and go from Manhattan's Supreme Court, their eyes have been repeatedly drawn to the bottom of the zimmer device - where two bright yellow tennis balls are attached to its legs.

It's a scene that has played out on multiple occasions since the disgraced film executive was charged with raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing a sex act on another woman in the city in 2006. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Weinstein has also been accused of raping or sexually harassing company assistants and some of Hollywood's biggest stars but says any contact was consensual. The most serious charges against him carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

The high-profile case opened on Monday in what could turn out to be the defining trial of an era. But with Weinstein now regularly wheeling himself out onto the world stage using his walker with custom-fit tennis balls, questions are being raised about the authenticity of his apparent ill health. According to his lawyers, Weinstein needs the walker as he recovers from recent back surgery.

Harvey Weinstein leaves court on day one of his rape trial on Monday, January 6, 2020 in New York. Picture: Seth Wenig
Harvey Weinstein leaves court on day one of his rape trial on Monday, January 6, 2020 in New York. Picture: Seth Wenig

 

 

However, sceptics claims the fallen mogul is deliberately trying to override any image of himself as a strong, powerful, gruff man and instead garner sympathy. Many noted that Weinstein could likely afford a decent walker and wouldn't need to resort to using tennis balls to replace worn down rubber on the legs.

One Twitter user posted: "It's like he's trying to look frail or something."

Another social media user noted that the walker looked "suspiciously cheap".

"Lightweight, yes. But wouldn't a mogul like him invest in the best?" she continued.

On Monday, Rose McGowan, 46, who accused Weinstein of raping her when she was 23 and later reached a $US100,000 ($A143,000) settlement with him, told reporters she believed he had "taken some good acting tips".

 

 

 

Rosanna Arquette, 60, who says she went to a hotel to get a script from Weinstein in the 1990s when he answered the door in his dressing gown and pulled her hand towards his crotch, described him as "a very broken man".

"People feel sorry for rapists, especially in Hollywood," she said.

 

 

 

 

More than 80 women have accused the father-of-five of sexual misconduct dating back decades. Most of the accusers, who refer to themselves as "the Silence Breakers", aren't involved in his prosecution.

Television journalist Lauren Sivan alleged that more than a decade ago Weinstein cornered her in the hallway of a New York restaurant and proceeded to masturbate in front of her by a potted plant. Ms Sivan said if Weinstein was acquitted and rebuilt his career it would be "like a paedophile … go (ing) back to coaching little league".

"This is a dangerous predator," she told news.com.au.

"Even if he is acquitted in this trial, let's hope that he's never able to go back to what he was doing."

Rosanna Arquette, who has accused Weinstein of threatening her career after she refused his advances, speaks to the media with other accusers outside the court on January 6, 2020 in New York City. Picture: Kena Betancur/Getty Images.
Rosanna Arquette, who has accused Weinstein of threatening her career after she refused his advances, speaks to the media with other accusers outside the court on January 6, 2020 in New York City. Picture: Kena Betancur/Getty Images.

Weinstein's trial started on Monday as he was charged in Los Angeles with rape and sexual assault in relation to two separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013.

The focus for the next two weeks in the New York case will be on jury selection before testimonies and evidence are presented to the court.

He faces five charges - one of a criminal sexual act in the first degree, two of predatory sexual assault and one each of rape in the first and third degree.

If convicted on charges of predatory sexual assault, the once-mighty mogul could be jailed for life.

The allegations against Weinstein, first exposed by The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017, spawned his downfall and helped spark the #MeToo movement against powerful men who prey on women.

 

megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin

Weinstein arrives at court for the start of jury selection in his sexual assault trial on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 in New York. Picture: AP /Mark Lennihan.
Weinstein arrives at court for the start of jury selection in his sexual assault trial on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 in New York. Picture: AP /Mark Lennihan.
Weinstein and his former wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman. Weinstein was charged on January 6, 2020 with sexually assaulting two women on successive nights during Oscar week 2013, bringing the new case against the disgraced Hollywood mogul simultaneously with his New York trial. Picture: John Shearer/Invision/AP.
Weinstein and his former wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman. Weinstein was charged on January 6, 2020 with sexually assaulting two women on successive nights during Oscar week 2013, bringing the new case against the disgraced Hollywood mogul simultaneously with his New York trial. Picture: John Shearer/Invision/AP.