Mel Gibson can testify in Harvey Weinstein trial in Los Angeles, judge says | Harvey Weinstein

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

The 66-year-old actor and director was one of many witnesses whose identity was revealed in Angels upper court. The judge and attorneys had paused jury selection for motions on what evidence will be allowed and who can testify. The list of witnesses is sealed.

Judge Lisa B Lench ruled Gibson could testify in support of her masseuse and friend, who will be known as Jane Doe No 3.

Weinstein, 70, is charged with forcible sexual assault of the woman, one of 11 counts of rape and sexual assault in the trial.

Prosecutors say that after receiving a massage from the woman at a Beverly Hills hotel in May 2010, a naked Weinstein followed her into a bathroom and masturbated.

Weinstein pleaded not guilty and denied any non-consensual sexual activity. His lawyers objected to Gibson testifying, saying what he learned from the woman while having a massage did not constitute a “new complaint” under the law by which Gibson would take a stand.

A “new complaint” under California law allows for the introduction of evidence of a sexual assault or other crime if the victim reported it to someone else willingly and relatively quickly.

Prosecutors said when Gibson brought up Weinstein’s name, the woman had a traumatic reaction and Gibson realized she had been sexually assaulted. Gibson did not recall the timing of the exchange, but the prosecution will use another witness, Allison Weiner, who recalls speaking to Gibson and the woman in 2015.

Judge Lench said Gibson’s testimony will depend on how the accuser describes the exchange when she takes the stand and whether she can speak out against it at that time.

A lawyer for Weinstein, Mark Werksman, argued that the defense should be allowed to cross-examine Gibson on widely publicized anti-Semitic remarks during an arrest in 2006 and racist statements made in 2010.

Lench said the discussion of Gibson’s racism was irrelevant to the trial, but it would raise questions about 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 Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ.

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

The attorney erroneously stated that the film won the Best Picture Oscar. Weinstein, whose films once dominated the Oscars, shook his head at the defense table.

“Sorry, my client would know better than me,” 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 and asserting himself as a champion of the #MeToo movement.

The prosecution argued that Gibson made no such suggestion and that at the time of the conversation with his masseuse there was talk of making a business deal with Weinstein, showing there was no party. taken.

Marlene Martinez, an assistant district attorney, called Gibson’s past comments “despicable” but said they were irrelevant to why he would be called to the stand.

Gibson’s testimony raises the prospect of two men, once among Hollywood’s most powerful but who suffered public falls, facing each other in court.

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

Lench also discovered that Melrose Place actor Daphne Zuniga could testify in a similar capacity for a woman known at trial as Jane Doe No 4, whom Weinstein is accused of raping in 2004 or 2005.

Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence for a 2020 conviction for rape and sexual assault in New York. That state’s highest court agreed to hear his appeal. He was brought to Los Angeles for the trial which began on Monday, five years after women’s stories about him gave impetus to the #MeToo movement.

Friday’s arguments came a day after the premiere of the movie she said, which tells the story of the two New York Times reporters whose stories brought Weinstein down. Weinstein’s attorneys have sought to delay the Los Angeles trial because publicity for the film could taint the jury. The judge denied their request.

The trial is expected to last eight weeks. The judge and attorneys will return to jury selection on Monday. Opening statements are expected on October 24.

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