Mel Gibson To Testify Against Harvey Weinstein
Mel Gibson has been granted permission to testify against Harvey Weinstein in his upcoming trial.
The legal troubles of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein are only getting worse as the former film producer is set to begin trial in Los Angeles on October 24. The judge overseeing the case, Lisa B. Lench, ruled that actor Mel Gibson would be permitted to take the stand to describe his interaction with one of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims, Jane Doe 3. Variety reports that the ruling was passed down on Friday after prosecutors claimed that Jane Doe 3 told Mel Gibson about the incident with Harvey Weinstein.
Jane Doe 3’s claim is that she had finished giving Harvey Weinstein a massage in a Beverly Hills hotel when he followed her into a bathroom and sexually assaulted her. She later related this story to another massage client, Mel Gibson, when he brought up a business deal he was pursuing with Harvey Weinstein. According to Mel Gibson, Jane Doe 3 had a “PTSD reaction” when the name “Harvey” was mentioned, breaking down in tears and telling him about her own experience with the Hollywood producer.
The conversation between Mel Gibson and Jane Doe 3 happened in 2015 according to other witnesses and investigators. Whether Mel Gibson testifies or not is dependent on the testimony of Jane Doe 3, but the actor is eligible to be called to the stand. Judge Lench has also had to delineate the parameters upon which the defense approaches Mel Gibson.
The attorney for the defense, Mark Werksman, has argued that Mel Gibson has a grudge against Harvey Weinstein over the movie The Passion of the Christ, which is seen by the producer as being antisemitic. Harvey Weinstein even penned a book disputing the movie’s themes. Werksman also attempted to bring into consideration remarks made by Mel Gibson on various occasions that indicate the actor is motivated by racism and antisemitism.
“It goes to his unwillingness to grant equal status to someone who is not of his ilk. He has a white-supremacist view,” Werksman responded when questioned about the relevance of the past comments. “Someone with white-supremacist values might have no problem perjuring himself against a Jewish defendant.”
Judge Lench allowed the defense to cross-examine Mel Gibson about any animosity between him and Harvey Weinstein but denied examination into his past comments. These final parameters are in place as the jury pool is narrowed to 160 as of Friday. More details will come regarding Gibson taking the stand.
Another question surrounding Mel Gibson’s testimony against Harvey Weinstein is the use of “fresh complaints,” or statements made by victims shortly after the crime. Calling the tactic “Energizer Bunny prosecution,” the defense asserted that introducing new allegations would only bias the case. The judge ruled that these testimonies were admissible and that another witness, Lubov Smirnova, could thus testify regarding conversations had with Jane Doe 1.
Harvey Weinstein has already been convicted of rape and sexual assault in the state of New York and is serving a 23-year sentence for those crimes. The Los Angeles trial is examining another 11 incidents involving five women and could carry a sentence of 140 years. Even if his pending appeal in New York succeeds, a conviction in California could put Harvey Weinstein behind bars for the rest of his life.