Jurors at Harvey Weinstein’s sex-assault trial were shown a photo of the disgraced movie mogul palling around with ex-President Bill Clinton — prompting howls of protest from the defense Wednesday afternoon.
Prosecutor Meghan Hast displayed the image during her opening statement, in which she described Weinstein as a “power broker in Hollywood” who used his influence to prey on “naive and inexperienced” young women.
After the jury was sent home for the day, defense lawyer Arthur Aidala asked Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke to declare a mistrial, saying the picture was intended to “poison” the panel against Weinstein, 67.
Aidala said that “two buddies with their arms around each other” was “100% irrelevant and has nothing to do with sex crimes.”
“The last impeachment trial had to do with that particular president [Clinton] in a sex-crimes case,” Aidala said.
“Nobody mentioned that President Obama’s daughter interned with Mr. Weinstein and nobody mentioned [his] relationship with the Cuomos or anyone else he knows … The fact that Clinton’s name keeps coming up, not that it was a crime of sexual assault, it was lying under oath, but it still encompasses that whole time in history.”
He added: “The jury is tainted and we need to start again.”
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon countered that one of Weinstein’s accusers “will be testifying that among the many things Harvey Weinstein did to intimidate her was to make sure she knew how close he was to the Clintons — even taking personal phone calls from Bill Clinton while he was with her.”
“She is a person from a dairy farm who was intimidated by this hulking person who was on the phone with Bill Clinton every other day,” Illuzzi-Orbon said.
Burke denied the motion for a mistrial.